Cheesy Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 24-26
Tomato-Meat Sauce:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal chicken seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dry Italian herbs
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (28 oz) cans tomatoes plus one, 14.5 oz can
  • 1½ Tablespoons fresh basil and parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 packages jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 (32 oz) containers ricotta
  • 2-3 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ - ¾ cup parmesan, shredded
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 (10 oz) container frozen spinach
  • 6-8 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, to sprinkle on top of the stuffed shells
  • fresh parsely, basil, minced to garnish cooked shells
For the Tomato-Meat Sauce:
  1. Heat about a Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the ground beef, season with salt, pepper and dry Italian herbs. I also use Montreal chicken seasoning. Cook on medium high heat until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Add the onion and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions are tender.
  3. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until they are the consistency that you like.
  4. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the skillet. Cover and cook for about 25-30 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  5. Take the sauce off the heat. Stir in the fresh herbs. Pour in a splash of heavy cream. Stir it all together and set aside.
For the Shells:
  1. Cook the shells according to package instructions. Set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
  2. While the shells are cooking, make the filling.
  3. Squeeze out all the excess liquid from the spinach.
  4. Combine the cheeses, eggs, 3 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper and the spinach together.
To assemble:
  1. Place the ricotta mixture into a large ziptop bag.
  2. Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe the filling inside the pasta shells.
  3. Spread about ½ a cup of tomato-meat sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan.
  4. Nestle the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in a single layer and pour more sauce over the shells.
  5. Sprinkle with about 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. (Most of the time I use a mixture of half mozzarella and half Parmesan).
  6. You will have 8 (8x8inch) baking pans of stuffed shells.
To Freeze:
  1. When the shells are at room temperature, get them ready for the freezer.
  2. Wrap each baking pan with a double layer of aluminum foil, making sure to label each pan. Seal each baking pan with plastic wrap.
To serve:
  1. Defrost the stuffed shells.
  2. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven, covered with a single layer of aluminum foil, for 20-30 minutes, until it's bubbling around the edges.
  3. Uncover and broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is golden and crisp.
  4. Sprinkle some fresh herbs on top of the hot shells.
Recipe by Olga's Flavor Factory at