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These Beef Stuffed Shells are generously filled with a savory mixture of seasoned ground beef, creamy ricotta cheese, and gooey melted mozzarella. Whether served as a weeknight dinner or at a special gathering, beef stuffed shells promise to tantalize taste buds and leave everyone craving more!

A pan of stuffed pasta shells filled with beef and cheese.
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If you’re looking for a comforting and satisfying dish that’s perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends, then our beef stuffed shells recipe is perfect for you! The combination of tender jumbo pasta shells filled with a flavorful mixture of seasoned ground meat and creamy ricotta cheese is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Why You’ll Love This Pasta Recipe

  • Comforting and Satisfying: Filled with hearty beef and creamy ricotta cheese, these stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort food that’s sure to satisfy even the heartiest appetites.
  • Easy to Make: Despite its impressive appearance, this dish is surprisingly simple to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.
  • Family-Friendly: Loved by kids and adults alike, these cheesy stuffed shells are a crowd-pleaser that’s guaranteed to please everyone at the table.

Beef Stuffed Shells Ingredients

  • Seasonings: Italian seasonings, black pepper, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder impart classic Italian flavor we’ve come to know and love. Spices are added to both the meat sauce and the filling for a full-bodied flavor, while parsley is added as a garnish at the end.
  • Marinara: Combined with seasoned beef, marinara makes the meat sauce to comprise part of the filling.
  • Filling: Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese mix with egg and spices to create the filling for our shells.
  • Shells: These are jumbo pasta shells resembling a conch shell you would see on the beach, except these taste much better.
Ingredients needed for beef stuffed shells.

How To Make Beef Stuffed Shells

Step 1: Prepare the equipment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking dish with oil and set it aside.

Step 2: Prepare the shells. Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions, then drain them and set aside.

How to brown the ground beef.

Step 3: Cook the meat. For the meat sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground meat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the seasonings: salt, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Saute until the meat is browned and cooked through.

Step 4: Mix the sauce. Remove 3/4 of the meat and set it aside. To the remaining meat, add the marinara sauce and cook for 2 minutes until well combined. Set aside for later use as the meat sauce.

How to prepare the filling.

Step 5: Prepare the ricotta mixture. For the filling, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well.

Beef and cheese mixture.

Step 6: Add meat to the filling. Add the reserved 3/4 portion of cooked meat to the ricotta cheese mixture and mix until well combined.

Cooked pasta shells filled with the cheese and beef mixture.

Step 7: Stuff the shells. Stuff the cooked pasta shells with the prepared cheese and meat mixture, using about 2 tablespoons per shell. Repeat with the remaining shells.

Process for layering the beef and cheese sauce.

Step 8: Put shells in the dish. In the greased baking dish, spread a layer of meat sauce (about ¾ cup). Arrange the stuffed shells over the sauce. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the shells. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.

Step 9: Bake the shells. Bake the stuffed shells for 25-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and the dish is heated through.

Step 10: Garnish and serve. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Beef stuffed shells in a spoon.

Tips To Make Stuffed Shells with Ground Meat

  • Cook the Pasta Al Dente: Be sure to cook the pasta shells until just al dente to prevent them from becoming too soft and mushy during baking.
  • Season the Filling Well: Don’t skimp on the seasonings for the beef filling, as they add flavor and depth to the dish.
  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: Choose the best quality ingredients you can afford, as they will greatly impact the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
  • Garnish Before Serving: Sprinkle the baked stuffed shells with fresh herbs such as parsley or basil just before serving for a pop of color and flavor.

What to Serve with Beef and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

When serving beef and ricotta stuffed shells, it’s great to complement the hearty flavors of the main dish with some delicious side dishes. Here are some tasty options to consider:

  1. Garlic Bread: Serve warm slices of garlic bread on the side is perfect for mopping up the delicious marinara sauce.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: Serve with a medley of vegetables for a nutritious and colorful side dish that adds freshness to the meal.
  3. Caprese Salad: Serve slices of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves drizzled with balsamic glaze for a light and flavorful accompaniment.
  4. Crispy Roasted Potatoes: Roast a batch potatoes tossed with delicious seasonings for a comforting and flavorful side dish.

Storing and Reheating

Storing: The shells will store in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. 

To reheat: Reheat stuffed shells in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit while covered with foil for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat individual shells in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Freezing: To freeze the stuffed shells, prepare them but don’t bake. Flash freeze the assembled shells on a baking sheet until solid. Then, transfer the shells to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen stuffed shells will keep well for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, assemble the frozen stuffed shells as directed, extending the baking time by an additional 10 minutes.

Stuffed shells in a casserole dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add vegetables to the filling mixture?

Absolutely! Feel free to add finely chopped vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, chopped artichoke hearts to the filling mixture for added flavor and nutrition. Just make sure to sauté them first to remove excess moisture.

Is it possible to substitute a different pasta for stuffed shells?

Although jumbo pasta shells are the customary choice for this recipe, you’re welcome to try alternative pasta shapes like manicotti or large pasta tubes. Simply remember to adapt the cooking duration to ensure the pasta remains cooked yet firm enough to contain the filling.

Can I used ground turkey or chicken in place of beef?

Indeed, you can opt for ground turkey or chicken as an alternative to beef in the filling mixture. This can offer a healthier choice for individuals seeking to lower their intake of red meat. Simply ensure that the poultry meat is seasoned adequately to guarantee its delicious flavor.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the stuffed shells up to a day in advance and refrigerate them until ready to bake. Just be sure to increase the baking time slightly to account for the chilled ingredients or remove the dish from the fridge one hour before baking.

A serving of stuffed shells.

More Pasta Recipes

Our Stuffed Shells with Ground Meat is a delightful twist on a classic Italian favorite, featuring tender pasta shells filled with a savory beef and ricotta mixture, then baked to perfection in marinara sauce. Perfect for cozy family dinners or entertaining guests, this dish is sure to become a new favorite.

If you try this recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a star rating in the comment section below because I love hearing from my readers. Also follow me at Cookin’ With Mima on FACEBOOK |INSTAGRAM |PINTEREST for all of my latest social posts and recipes.

5 from 2 votes

Beef and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Savor the comforting delight of beef stuffed shells, showcasing generously filled jumbo pasta shells brimming with a savory blend of seasoned ground meat, luscious ricotta cheese, and gooey melted mozzarella, expertly baked for a satisfying meal.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells

For the meat sauce

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 oz jar marinara sauce

For the filling

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking dish with oil and set it aside.
  • Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions, then drain them and set aside.
  • For the meat sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground meat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the seasonings: salt, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Saute until the meat is browned and cooked through.
  • Remove 3/4 of the meat and set it aside. To the remaining meat, add the marinara sauce and cook for 2 minutes until well combined. Set aside for later use as the meat sauce.
  • For the filling, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well.
  • Add the reserved 3/4 portion of cooked meat to the ricotta cheese mixture and mix until well combined.
  • Stuff the cooked pasta shells with the prepared cheese and meat mixture, using about 2 tablespoons per shell. Repeat with the remaining shells.
  • In the greased baking dish, spread a layer of meat sauce (about ¾ cup). Arrange the stuffed shells over the sauce. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the shells. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake the stuffed shells for 25-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and the dish is heated through.
  • Garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

  • Cook the Pasta Al Dente: Be sure to cook the pasta shells until just al dente to prevent them from becoming too soft and mushy during baking.
  • Season the Filling Well: Don’t skimp on the seasonings for the beef filling, as they add flavor and depth to the dish.
  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: Choose the best quality ingredients you can afford, as they will greatly impact the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
  • Garnish Before Serving: Sprinkle the baked stuffed shells with fresh herbs such as parsley or basil just before serving for a pop of color and flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 1091kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 2098mg | Potassium: 1259mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1733IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 615mg | Iron: 7mg
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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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