Stuffed Shells Two Ways: Spinach Ricotta and Bolognese

My boys (hubby and son) are not cheese fans, especially ricotta, so their shells were filled with the meat sauce and baked. Oh so delicious!!

Stuffed Spinach Ricotta Shells and Stuffed Bolognese Shells

Don't like or can't have cheese? No worries! Try these Stuffed Bolognese Shells.
Love cheese? Great! Try the Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • Jar of favorite marinara for bottom of pans
  • Kosher salt
  • 9 ounces jumbo pasta shells (30 to 34 shells)

Meat Sauce Filling

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt

Spinach Ricotta Filling

  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Freshly ground pepper


Meat Sauce

  • Cook beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink-crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat. Add the tomatoes, paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Make the Stuffed Shells

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook as the label directs for baking, about 9 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Spread out on a baking sheet.

Ricotta Filling

  • Add spinach to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 2-3 minutes, until wilted.Put the cooked spinach in a large bowl and add the ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, Parmesan, beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir until combined.


  • Spread about half of the jarred sauce in the bottom of a 10-by-14-inch baking dish. Evenly fill the shells with the spinach-ricotta mixture or meat sauce using a spoon. Arrange the shells side by side, open-side up, in the baking dish on top of the sauce, then top with the remaining sauce (meat sauce or jarred).Cover the dish with foil and bake until heated through and the sauce is simmering around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until any shells or cheese poking through the sauce are lightly browned in spots, about 10 more minutes. Let sit 10 minutes. Top with more Parmesan.

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