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Stuffed Shells with Marinara

3-Cheese Stuffed Shells in Homemade Marinara Sauce

These stuffed shells in homemade marinara sauce are simple to make and delicious comfort food at its best.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

For the Shells and Filling:

  • 12 uncooked (dry) jumbo pasta shells
  • Water for boiling the shells
  • 3 teaspoons salt for the boiling water

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup cooked and crumbled Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) chopped fresh parsley curly or Italian parsley
  • 2 green onions chopped (including the green top part)

For the Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shredded Parmesan cheese or Grated Parmesan Cheese

Equipment

  • 2-quart (7-inch x 11-inch) rectangular baking/casserole dish about 1-1/2 inches deep

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • To a casserole dish, add tomato sauce, granulated garlic, pepper and oregano. 
  • Fill the empty can of tomato sauce about half full with water (about 3/4 cup), and pour the water in with the tomato sauce (a great way to use up the tomato sauce that sticks to the inside of the can).
  • Stir the ingredients together and set aside.

For the Pasta Shells:

  • In a large saucepan, add water and bring it to a boil. To the boiling water, add salt. 
  • To the pot, add the shells and cook until the shells are al dente (according to package directions) (about 8 minutes).
    Drain the shells and set aside (don't rinse the shells).
  • Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. When pasta is rinsed, the starch is removed. The starch on pasta helps to hold and absorb the sauce so it’s important to keep the starch on the pasta.

For the Filling:

  • In a medium size bowl, add the cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, chopped green onion, Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and chopped parsley.  Stir together. 
  • Using a small spoon, carefully fill each pasta shell with the filling.

For the Assembly:

  • Stir the sauce that's in the casserole dish.
    To the casserole dish, add the shells with the filling side up in the sauce. 

For the Toppings:

  • Top the shells with the remaining shredded mozzarella, and shredded Parmesan cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered in a preheated oven (at 375 degrees F.) until the cheese topping is completely melted and the edges of the cheese are starting to turn slightly brown; which is about the same amount of time that the cheese and sausage filling heats up all the way through (about 20 minutes).
  • Serve warm.

Notes

TIP:

Don’t rinse the pasta after cooking it. When pasta is rinsed, the starch is removed. The starch on pasta helps to hold and absorb the sauce so it’s important to keep the starch on the pasta.