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pesto stuffed shells with Italian sausage meat marinara in white casserole dish on white kitchen towel with spoon

Pesto Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage Marinara

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian


An easy Pesto Stuffed Shells recipe anyone can make. Large pasta shells stuffed with pesto, creamy ricotta and swimming in savory Italian sausage marinara!



2 lbs ground Italian sausage

2 Jars your favorite marinara sauce

12 oz (1 box) jumbo pasta shells

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup pesto, divided

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 Tablespoon minced oregano

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

salt + pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat a medium-large saute pan on medium heat. Add in sausage and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Add in sauce and stir together. Bring sauce/sausage mixture to a small simmer and remove from heat. Transfer sausage marinara mixture to a large casserole dish.
  3. Bring 4-6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta shells according to package directions until al dente, about 7-8 minutes.
  4. While pasta is cooking, prepare ricotta pesto filling. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 1/2 cup of pesto, minced garlic, minced oregano, red pepper and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Stir together until smooth and creamy. Transfer filling into a large zip lock bag and remove the tip.
  5. Drain pasta shells and run under cool water until they are cool enough to touch. Fill shells with ricotta filling and place into sausage marinara filled casserole dish. Continue until all shells are filled.
  6. Top with shredded mozzarella, parmesan and sprinkle the remaining pesto. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and golden. Serve immediately.


To make in advance: Prep and assemble the pesto stuffed shells one day in advance, cover and set in your fridge. When ready to bake the next day, you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time to account for it being chilled in the fridge.

Keywords: pesto stuffed shells, pesto pasta shells, ricotta stuffed shells, stuffed shells with meat