Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells


Believe it or not, I'm not a fan of cheese and try to avoid it whenever possible. So dishes that are stuffed with things like ricotta turn me off. I created this dish as a compromise to my cheese avoidance and my husband's love of Italian food. Serve this with garlic bread and a salad for a wonderful family dinner.

8 servings


  • 1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells

  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage

  • 1 (16 ounce) package finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, plus more for garnish if desired

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar prepared marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish.

  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook shells in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet; place drained pasta on baking sheet to cool.

    overhead of boiled pasta shells on tray

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  3. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. Cook and crumble sausage until it has lost its pink color and begins to brown. Remove from heat; drain off grease. Stir 1/2 of the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning into browned sausage.

    overhead of stuffed shell filling in pan with wooden spoon

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Spoon sausage mixture into pasta shells (1 to 2 tablespoons per shell). Arrange stuffed shells in the prepared baking dish.

    overhead of filling stuffed shells

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  5. Pour marinara sauce evenly over the shells. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

    overhead of unbaked stuffed shells in dish

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until heated through and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake until browned, 5 to 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of Italian seasoning, if desired.

    close up view of Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells garnished with fresh basil in a white baking dish and Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells on a blue plate


Cook's Note:

If you don't like a lot of sauce, adjust to suit your personal tastes. And if you prefer, you can sprinkle parsley flakes on the baked shells instead of Italian seasoning.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

578 Calories
25g Fat
57g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 578
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 1171mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 485mg 37%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 562mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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