Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells

Average ()
spinach and three cheese stuffed shells recipe
Tieghan Gerard/Half Baked Harvest Super Simple

It’s not every day that we dig into a melty skillet full of cheesy, meaty pasta (although we can dream). So when the occasion arises, we’re going all out with Tieghan Gerard’s spinach and three-cheese stuffed shells from her new cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple. Come on, it has three types of cheese!

“Homemade stuffed shells have become a family favorite,” Gerard writes. “This recipe is not only delicious, it is also so fun to make and eat. Maybe it’s the cheesy stuffed shells that remind me of cheese-filled ravioli but without all the work. Or the flavorful tomato sauce that’s filled with roasted red peppers and spicy Italian sauce. Or maybe it’s all that fresh mozzarella cheese on top?” It’s hard to argue with that logic.

“No matter the reason,” she continues, “this is a recipe I make whenever friends and family are in town. Everyone always enjoys it. I mean, what’s not to love about cheese-stuffed pasta sitting in delicious tomato sauce? It’s always good!”

We just can’t wait for friends and family. We’re making this one tonight.

Reprinted from Half Baked Harvest Super Simple. Copyright © 2019 by Tieghan Gerard. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Tieghan Gerard. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage

Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (such as San Marzano or Pomi)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

One 8-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

One 1-pound box jumbo pasta shells

16 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded Gouda cheese

1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more for serving

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes, bell pepper, oregano, red-pepper flakes and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Taste and add more salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shells and cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain well.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Gouda and basil. Transfer the mixture to a gallon-size zip-top bag. Push the mixture into one corner of the bag, squeeze the air out of the top of the bag, and snip about ½ inch off that corner.

4. Working with one at a time, pipe about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each shell, then place them in the skillet. Sprinkle the shells evenly with mozzarella.

5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and is lightly browning on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil to serve. Store any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Note: If you’re feeding a vegetarian crowd or just prefer to go meatless, you can omit the sausage and simply add more crushed red-pepper flakes to taste.

Nutrition Facts
  • 798 calories

  • 45g fat

  • 62g carbs

  • 39g protein

  • 12g sugars

Powered By

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

Made it? Rate it!

purewow author

Our editorial team works with a variety of writers and experts across all fields to produce thoroughly researched stories that resonate with you. Our mission is to be that...