Ground Beef Stuffed Shells

July 20, 2020
Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed full with cheesy seasoned ground beef and topped with a super tasty quick-and-easy sauce in this family-favorite comfort food dish. Loaded with flavor, Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are one beloved dinner dish the family looks forward to every time.
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Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Image

Usually when you think of stuffed shells, you think of cheese or cheese and spinach combination-stuffed shells.  But in our family of meat eaters? -- We love these hearty Ground Beef Stuffed Shells.  Yes, we just prefer our stuffed shells with meat.

Stuffed full with cheesy seasoned ground beef and topped with a super tasty quick-and-easy sauce, this family favorite is loaded with flavor.  It's one classic comfort food dinner dish our family looks forward to every time.

Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are one beloved dinner dish the family looks forward to every time.

This particular stuffed shells recipe is from my Great Aunt Bertha, my mother's mom's sister.  And it's a recipe that's been passed down and around all throughout our family.

While admittedly a bit time consuming to put together, these Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are not hard to make.  Boil jumbo pasta shells, make the ground beef filling, simmer a simple sauce, and assemble and bake it all together -- Yes, there are a few steps.  But each step in and of itself is manageable and pretty easy to do.

Pan of Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Covered in Sauce Image

To make a pan of these beefy stuffed shells, start by getting the sauce going.  The sauce needs to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, so it's good to get that going first.  

Plus, if the sauce is done before the pasta shells and beef filling are finished, it's no big deal for the sauce to just be set aside for a few minutes until it's needed.

Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Sauce Ingredients Image

These shells' simple sauce is a combination of canned diced tomatoes and condensed tomato soup simmered with onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, and a small pinch of sugar.  

It may seem like a bit different combination of ingredients for a pasta sauce, but it truly does have wonderful flavor that beautifully compliments the beef-stuffed shells. 

To make the quick and easy sauce, heat some olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Then add chopped onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of sugar.  Cook this together until the onions are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Then add in canned diced tomatoes and condensed tomato soup.  Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

 Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Filling Ingredients Image

The beef filling for the shells is a mixture of ground beef seasoned with onion, garlic, Italian style bread crumbs, and fresh parsley.

Some eggs are mixed in to help bind everything together.  And the filling also gets a hefty dose of shredded mozzarella cheese.  The cheese adds to the great flavor, and of course, brings its fabulous cheesiness! 

Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Filling in Mixing Bowl Image

Once the sauce is simmering, work on preparing the pasta shells and ground beef filling.

Cook the shells in salted water, according to the package directions.  You won't need the entire box of jumbo pasta shells.  Typically there's about 40 or so shells in a box, and this recipe makes about 24 to 26 stuffed shells.  


Really load the shells up with filling. No one wants to eat sparsely filled, wimpy little shells, right?

I usually cook a few more shells than needed, to have extras in case a few shells break while cooking.  Inevitably, at least a few pasta shells tear while cooking or being drained.

While the shells cook, make the ground beef filling.  Start the filling by browning the ground beef along with some chopped onion and garlic.

Then in a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef with bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, some salt and pepper, and shredded mozzarella. Stir this together until it's well combined.

How to Stuff Jumbo Pasta Shells Image

Then it's time to stuff the shells.  Really load the shells up with filling -- stuff them full!  No one wants to eat sparsely filled, wimpy little shells, right?

And a quick word of caution -- The pasta shells will be hot.  

To make them more manageable to work with, I spray them with a little cold water while they're still in the colander after draining.  I don't spray them enough to completely cool them down -- I just give them a little spritz to cool them enough to handle and hold.

Pan of Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Before Baking Image

To assemble all the components together, spread a thin layer of the prepared sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking.  This little layer of sauce keeps the stuffed shells from sticking to the pan, and brings the sauce's flavor to the bottom of the shells.

As you stuff each pasta shell with ground beef filling, place it in the baking dish on top of the sauce.  Place the shells close together as you fill the dish so you can fit in as many shells as possible.

Then, spoon the remaining sauce evenly over the stuffed shells. 

Spooning Sauce Over Pan of Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Image

Sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Then bake the shells until heated through and bubbly around the edges.

Baking Dish with Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Covered with Sauce Image

And then you've got yourself a pan full of hot and bubbly, beefy stuffed shells to enjoy.

If your family is like ours, they'll look forward to Ground Beef Stuffed Shells every time they're served.  Because these jumbo pasta shells stuffed full with seasoned ground beef are also stuffed full with flavor.

They're a beloved family-favorite comfort food dinner dish, for sure.

Serving Spoon with Ground Beef Stuffed Shells Image
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ground beef stuffed shells recipe, stuffed shells, stuffed shells with meat, jumbo pasta shells, stuffed shells recipe
Main Dishes
Italian
Yield: about 24-26 shells
Author:
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Ground Beef Stuffed Shells

Ground Beef Stuffed Shells

Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed full with cheesy seasoned ground beef and topped with a super tasty quick-and-easy sauce in this family-favorite comfort food dish. Loaded with flavor, Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are one beloved dinner dish the family looks forward to every time.
Prep time: 45 MCook time: 1 hourTotal time: 1 H & 45 M

Ingredients:

Shells & Filling:
  • 1 (12 oz.) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c. Italian style bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 c.)
Sauce:
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 small-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 T. olive oil
Topping:
  • 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Prepare Sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, and sugar.  Cook until onions are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and condensed tomato soup.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Prepare Shells & Filling:
  1. Cook pasta shells in salted water, according to package directions. (See note below - you will not need the entire box of jumbo shells.) Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef with onion and garlic; drain.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and mozzarella. Stir together until well combined.
Assemble & Bake:
  1. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking (to keep the stuffed shells from sticking).
  2. Stuff each jumbo pasta shell with ground beef filling and place in baking dish, placing the shells close together as you fill the dish.
  3. Spoon remaining sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 350℉ for 30-40 minutes until heated through.
TRACEY'S NOTES:
  1. You will not need the entire box of jumbo pasta shells.  Typically there's about 40 or so shells in a box, and this recipe makes about 24 to 26 stuffed shells.  I usually cook a few more shells than needed, to have extras in case a few shells break while cooking.
  2. When filling the pasta shells, the shells will be hot.  To make them more manageable to work with, I spray them with a little cold water while they're still in the colander after draining.  I don't spray them enough to completely cool them down -- I just give them a little spritz to cool them enough to handle and hold.
  3. Really load the shells up with filling -- stuff them full!
  4. Ground Beef Stuffed Shells can be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw completely before baking.  Then bake as directed, increasing the baking time as needed to be heated through.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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