Stuffed Shells with Marinara

Jan 15, 2006 by criscodisco | 2 Comments| Share it:   

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OK, I’m a pasta junkie. Although it was invented somewhere in Asia, nothing is better than a big fattening Italian dish. With that being said, here’s an awesome stuffed shells recipe. It serves four, but I was serving 8 so while the amounts are for a single recipe, the pictures are of a double recipe.


  • Prep: ~30 mins.
  • Cook: 1 - 2 hrs.
  • Serves: 4

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First start by making the marinara. You'll need the following:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
1 pound fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

For the shells you will need:

One box of jumbo pasta shells
3 tablespoons butter
2 ounces prosciutto
2 large shallots
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil, crumbled

Step 1

Picture of shell ingredients:


Step 2

First, prep your fresh ingredients. I like the garlic in thick slices, since it simmers for awhile and it will be nice and soft. Slice up your mushrooms and finely chop your onion. Then wish you had a food processor. It made this whole step take about 2 minutes, if that.


Step 3

I've heard before that you should never use tomatoes in a cast iron skillet, but I don't care. I've been doing it for years, and the Lodge website even has tons of tomato recipes for use in their skillets. You can use a regular skillet, though.


Step 4

Saute your onion in your olive oil over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until soft and very oniony. Then add your garlic and cook for about a minute more. You should be stirring your ingredients around this whole time.


Step 5

Add your mushrooms and crushed red pepper. It will seem like a lot, until they start to cook down. Cook like this for about 5 minutes, or until it looks like the second picture.


Step 6

Second picture showing it cooked down:


Step 7

Add that big can of tomatoes and it's juices, and stir around. Cover, and let cook on low for 15 minutes. If your skillet is like mine and doesn't have a lid, a cookie sheet works wonders.


Step 8

Cookie sheet instead of a lid:


Step 9

Uncover, and add your can of tomato sauce, sugar, basil and oregano.


Step 10

We're reaching a critical mass here! I had to do the only logical thing after it started dripping down the side:


Step 11

Cover again, and cook for another 15 minutes. Uncover, and season with some salt and pepper. I like kosher salt, but table salt is fine. Let simmer for about 5 minutes uncovered, until it's thickened up some. About this time, you should start boiling some water, and add your jumbo shells. So now you have your shells in the water, and your marinara simmering to thick greatness. Boil the shells according to the boxed direction, and drain. Throw them back in the pot to keep warm and flexible, and set aside while you make your stuffing.


Step 12

Chop your shallots, mushrooms and prosciutto. The prosciutto will want to stick together, but it will separate as it cooks. Heat your butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and toss your shallots and prosciutto in. Cook, stirring the whole time, for about 4-5 minutes.


Step 13

After 4-5 minutes it will look like this:


Step 14

Toss in your mushrooms and cook until most of the mushroom juices have evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.


Step 15

In a large bowl, mix the previous with your ricotta and basil.


Step 16

If you plan on making this now, preheat your oven to 350F. If you plan on stuffing them now and baking later, that's fine, too. They can sit for about a day before baking. Regardless of how you're doing it, pour most of your marinara into your baking dish, and stuff your shells like so:


Step 17

Repeat until full:


Step 18

Top with some parmesan, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until your cheese is melted. Serve with some more marinara spooned over and some nice crusty garlic bread. Yummy.

Now that you have learned how to make stuffed shells with marinara, please be sure to view these other pasta recipes. Also, you will love these Italian recipes.


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user does not have an avatar zinnie

Apr 25, 2009

I made these pasta shells for my moms 80th birthday party, everyone loved them. I make stuff shells alot and wanted something different. Very goooddddddddddd

user does not have an avatar PriNceSS

May 17, 2011

I made this for my sister’s party and OMG everyone loved this. I make it at least 2 times a month. I love it too. Thank you to the people who posted this great recipe. smile

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