John's Favorite Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

My husband loves this dish (hence the name).  It is one of the first things that I cooked for him when we were dating.  Actually, I should clarify...It's not really the first thing that I cooked for him, but it's one of the first things that I cooked WELL for him.  So naturally, it became his favorite. My culinary skills have evolved some over the years & now he has many favorites but this one was his first and so it will always be special to us. 
(for the meat sauce)
1 lb lean Ground Beef
1- 28 oz can diced Tomatoes
1- 6 oz can Tomato Paste
6 oz Water
1- medium Yellow Onion, chopped
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

(for the shells)
24 Jumbo Pasta Shells (a little less than 1, 1lb box)
1- 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (plus extra for topping)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded (plus extra for topping)
2 tsp dried Parsley
2 tsp Garlic & Herb Seasoning
2 Eggs, lightly beaten

In a dutch oven or large sauce pan, add a drizzle of olive oil & brown your beef over medium high heat.
When the meat is starting to brown, add the chopped onions & saute with the meat. Season with salt & pepper.
Add the garlic & cook 1-2 minutes. 
Add the tomatoes (with all the juices), the tomato paste, and warm water.  (I use the tomato paste can to add the water.) Add the dried herbs & stir well to combine. Cover the sauce & let it simmer on low while you boil the pasta shells.
  Cook the shells slightly al dente (you will be cooking them longer in the oven.)  Drain them in a colander.
While the shells are cooking, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, & parmesan cheeses with the eggs & herbs.
Turn the heat off on the meat sauce & check your seasonings, adjust if needed. 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your casserole dish with nonstick spray.  If making the whole batch in 1 dish, use a 9X13.  Or you can use individual dishes like I am doing here.  I actually made half the shells in 3 individual dishes.  Then I made the second half of the shells in a 7X11 & froze it for another meal. 
Place a little bit of the meat sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish, just enough to coat the bottom.
Fill the pasta shells with 1-2 tbsp of the filling & place on top of the sauce. 
Spoon more sauce over the top of the shells.  Then top with some additional cheese (optional). 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly. 
Let cool 10 minutes or so before serving.  Enjoy!
I made a Caesar salad to serve on the side. 
Yummy, Cheesy filled Shells! 
To make & freeze this for a future meal, assemble the whole dish then freeze before you bake.  Let it thaw in the refrigerator before you bake it.  The whole batch will serve 8-10 people. 


  1. I think your husband has an excellent taste! ^_^

  2. Don't laugh, but when i make these, i try to make enough to freeze some, but it never works out that way, LOL You are making me drool!