These packed shells are tacky, saucy, and packed with the most scrumptious ricotta and spinach filling. I remain in love, and I believe you will be, too. Mentioning love, they’re so quite that you might serve these shells for a romantic Valentine’s supper in your home.

A couple of more factors to enjoy this dish:

  • It yields a great deal of shells, so it’s ideal for serving a crowd.
  • Leftovers are terrific for lunch, or you can freeze them for later on.
  • This dish is fairly simple to make, with very little slicing.

fresh and blanched spinach

This packed shells dish includes basic and timeless Italian components. You’ll require jumbo shells, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, a little Parmesan, garlic and spices.

To make this tacky meal more redeeming, I included a whole pound of fresh greens! You can utilize fresh or frozen spinach or kale. The greens yield a beautiful, dynamic green filling with a beautiful, moderate taste. These packed shells are truthfully the very best I have actually ever had, by a long shot. Keep checking out for some enjoyable variations and ideas.

stuffed shells ingredients

How to Make the very best Stuffed Shells with Spinach & Ricotta

This dish comes together quickly, with very little slicing. You’ll discover the complete dish listed below, however here’s a rundown:

  1. Initially, blanch the greens. This is truly simple– simply discard them in a huge pot of salted water and cook till they’re wilted (about 30 seconds). Utilizing tongs, move the greens to a big bowl of ice water. This action maintains their lovely, intense green color. As soon as cooled, capture all the water out of the greens and reserved.
  2. Prepare the pasta shells in the very same pot of water you utilized for the greens. The water will be an enjoyable shade of greenish yellow, however the pasta will end up completely. We’ll prepare the shells till they’re practically al dente– simply put, we desire them well flexible however not completely tender. They’ll complete cooking in the oven.
  3. Then, work up the filling in the food mill. Given that we’re mixing up the garlic and chives, we do not require to trouble slicing them carefully by hand.
  4. Things each shell with a generous spoonful of filling and put them in tight little rows throughout marinara-lined bakers.
  5. Spoon marinara sauce over the shells. We do not require them entirely covered. Complete them off with the staying mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake, and serve.

Watch How to Make Stuffed Shells

how to stuff shells

Packed Shells Tips

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Break out your biggest pot and baking meal for this dish. Preferably, utilize a 5.5-quart or bigger Dutch oven or stockpot to boil the greens and pasta. Then, you’ll move all of the prepared greens to a huge bowl of ice water. Lastly, you’ll require an extra-large baker (even bigger than 9 by 13 inches) or a mix of 2 bakers like you’ll see listed below (state, 9 by 13 and 8 by 8).

The filling comes together well in a food mill If you do not have a food mill, no issue. Slice up the components (slice the chives and garlic carefully, and the prepared greens into extremely little pieces) and stir the components together by hand.

To conserve time, usage store-bought marinara sauce. My favorites are Rao’s (it comes quite near my homemade marinara) or Newman’s Own natural. I attempt to prevent marinaras with sugarcoated, considering that it’s unneeded. Or, make my homemade marinara sauce the night prior to (make sure to double the dish to have adequate).

Conserve time (and cash) by utilizing frozen greens. Frozen greens are less costly and work completely well for this dish. Simply thaw them in a colander under running water, capture out excess water, and it’s excellent to go.

These shells make terrific leftovers! Shop them in the fridge for as much as 4 days, or in the freezer for a number of months.

spinach-ricotta stuffed shells before baking

Packed Shell Dish Variations

I’m entirely smitten with this dish as composed listed below. Here are some enjoyable methods to alter it up:

  • For lighter, less tacky shells, utilize half as much mozzarella or omit it entirely.
  • For basic tacky shells (no greens), double the ricotta, carefully slice the chives, press or mince the garlic, and stir the mix together by hand.
  • For vegetable shells, change the greens with about 2 cups prepared or roasted veggies.
  • For dairy-free or vegan shells, utilize my vegan sour cream in location of the ricotta, and spray some vegan Parmesan on top. Discover more information in the dish notes.

stuffed shells, ready to bake

classic stuffed shells recipe

Longing for more saucy Italian meals?

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Finest Veggie Lasagna or Vegan Lasagna
  • Baked Ziti with Roasted Veggies or Lentil Baked Ziti
  • Roasted Ratatouille
  • Italian Eggplant Parmesan
  • Spaghetti Squash “Pizza” Bowls

I ‘d serve this dish or any of the above with my Italian Chopped Salad– even a streamlined variation would be ideal.

Please let me understand how your shells end up in the remarks. I enjoy speaking with you and hope this dish is a success.

spinach-stuffed shells with marinara

Finest Packed Shells

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Preparation Time: thirty minutes
  • Prepare Time: 35 minutes
  • Overall Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions 1 x
  • Classification: Meal
  • Approach: Baked
  • Food: Italian
  • Diet Plan: Vegetarian

4.9 from 102 evaluations

This packed shells dish includes tacky, saucy shells packed with a tasty spinach and ricotta filling. Make these packed shells for supper tonight! Dish yields about 28 shells, about 8 portions.

Active Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh child spinach or child kale, or frozen spinach or kale, or 1 1/2 pounds Tuscan kale or spinach lots, cleaned and stems eliminated
  • 1 tablespoon additional virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces jumbo shells
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into a number of sectors
  • 15 ounces (or 1 pound) ricotta cheese or home cheese
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated part-skim mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (2/3- ounce) chives or green onions (primarily green parts), cut into 1/4– long pieces
  • Newly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (leave out if conscious spice)
  • 3/4 teaspoon great sea salt, to taste
  • 1 big egg, gently beaten with a fork
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) marinara sauce, homemade * or store-bought (I utilized Rao’s)
  • Fresh basil for garnish, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 with racks in the center and upper 3rd of the oven. Bring a big Dutch oven or stockpot of water to boil over high heat. Kindly salt the water (usage a minimum of 2 teaspoons). If you’re not utilizing frozen greens, fill a big bowl with ice water for blanching.
  2. If you’re utilizing fresh greens, include them to the boiling water and prepare simply till wilted, about 20 to 40 seconds. Utilizing tongs (leave the water in the pot), move the greens to the ice bath and let them cool off. Drain pipes off the water and capture as much excess water from the greens as possible. Reserve. (If you’re utilizing frozen greens, put them in a colander and run cool water over them till they have actually complete thawed. Eject as much excess water as possible, and reserved.)
  3. Bring the water in the pot back to a boil. Carefully include the pasta shells in handfuls so they do not break en route in. Prepare till flexible however simply shy of al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring typically so they do not adhere to the pot. Drain pipes off the water, return the noodles to the pot, and carefully stir in the olive oil to avoid the noodles from sticking. Reserve.
  4. Switch on your food mill and drop the garlic through the feeding tube. As soon as the garlic is sliced and adhered to the sides of the bowl, stop the device and scrape down the sides. For excellent step, capture off any staying water in the greens, then include them to the bowl. Process till the greens are sliced into little pieces.
  5. Include the ricotta and procedure till well mixed. Include half of the mozzarella, booking the rest for topping. Include all of the Parmesan and chives, about 10 twists of black pepper, the red pepper flakes and salt. Mix well. Taste, and include extra salt, pepper or red pepper flakes if preferred. Lastly, include the egg and procedure till mixed. Reserve.
  6. If you have an extra-large baking meal (bigger than 9 × 13 inches), spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce throughout the bottom. Otherwise, divide 1 cup marinara in between a big (9 × 13 inches) and medium-sized baker (state, an 8-inch square). You may require to include another splash of sauce to equally coat the bottom of the pans.
  7. Things each undamaged shell with a heaping spoonful (about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons) of the green mix. Location each packed shell in the baker in rows. (You may have a couple of remaining or damaged shells; conserve them for another usage.) Spoon the staying marinara sauce over the tops of the shells. Leading the shells with the staying mozzarella.
  8. Cover the baker( s) firmly with foil and bake on the middle rack for thirty minutes. Then, eliminate the foil and location the bakers on the upper rack. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, till the mozzarella is completely melted and turning simply somewhat golden (you can bake longer for a more golden result, however the greens will end up being less dynamic).
  9. Garnish the shells with a light cleaning of grated Parmesan and some little or broken fresh basil leaves. Remaining shells will keep well in the fridge for as much as 4 days, or freeze them for a number of months.


Dish adjusted from 2 New york city Times dishes: Packed Shells Filled With Spinach and Ricotta by Martha Rose Sherman and Stuffed Shells by Ali Slagle.

* Homemade marinara sauce note: You’ll require to double my marinara dish to yield enough for this dish, and after that you’ll have additional. If you do not believe you’ll utilize it up within a couple of days, you can freeze it for later on.

Prepare beforehand: You can put together the shells (through action 7) and save the baker in the fridge till all set to bake. While I have not attempted freezing the shells, they look like exceptional prospects. Let the frozen shells thaw in the fridge prior to baking. Given that they’re beginning cold, they may require a couple of more minutes in the oven.

Modification it up: For less tacky shells, utilize half as much mozzarella or omit it entirely. For basic tacky shells (no greens), double the ricotta, carefully slice the chives, press or mince the garlic, and stir the mix together by hand. You might likewise change the greens with about 2 cups prepared or roasted veggies.

Make it egg totally free: Merely leave out the egg. The egg assists the cheese set, however I have actually spoken with readers that it turns out well without it!

Make it dairy free/vegan: Double my vegan sour cream dish, and leave it in the mixer. Include the greens, garlic, chives, black pepper and red pepper flakes (hold back on the extra salt). Process till the mix is quite well mixed, and include salt to taste. Avoid the egg. Follow the sauce and baking guidelines as composed. If preferred, garnish with a light spray of vegan Parmesan.

▸ Nutrition Details

The info revealed is a quote offered by an online nutrition calculator. It needs to not be thought about an alternative to an expert nutritional expert’s suggestions. See our complete nutrition disclosure here.

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