Meatless Stuffed Shells

Oh Giada de Laurentiis. You and your intensely-Italian pronunciations and extremely low-cut shirts. I have to say I get suckered in to her show on the Food Network whenever I’m flipping through the channels. I love to hear how she peppers in the words ricotta (REEEECOTAH) or mascarpone (MAHHHHHSCAPONAY) into her perfectly American conversations. It makes me wish I had Italian heritage. Oh well- I guess I’ll just live vicariously by watching Cake Boss and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. And of course, Giada.

These stuffed shells are Giada’s recipe, just tweaked a bit so that they’re vegetarian and so I could use our homemade pizza sauce instead of the marinara that it originally calls for. I also added onions to add a little more substance to the sauce. The end result was a tasty and surprisingly easy dish to whip up.  Grazie, Giada!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Meatless Stuffed Shells

Meatless Stuffed Shells

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (approximately 36 shells)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing baking sheet
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups pizza sauce (I used homemade, but you can certainly use store bought)
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 30 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1.5 tsp dried)
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1.5 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside. Lightly oil the baking sheet and set aside.

Partially cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender but still quite firm to the bite, about 5 to 6 minutes. You will continue cooking the shells in the oven after they have been stuffed. Using a slotted spoon, drain pasta shells and place on oiled baking sheet, spreading them out so that they don’t stick together and allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and stir. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the pizza sauce, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring often.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell. Arrange the shells in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, then sprinkle with the mozzarella.

Bake in the lower third of your oven until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

2 Comments Add yours

  1. molly oneill says:

    Believe it or not, a wee bit of grated nutmeg to the cheese mixture adds interest and character.

    1. Lolly says:

      Ooh nutmeg sounds interesting. I could see how that would be good!

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