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Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with basil pesto, creamy ricotta and Italian cheeses, baked in marinara sauce. A favorite Italian-American dinner any time of year! #thehungrybluebird #pestocheesestuffedshells #bakedstuffedshells #stuffedpastashells #ricotta #pesto #pastabake

Pesto Cheese Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce

Pasta shells stuffed with pesto and cheese, baked in marinara sauce.
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian/American
Keyword pesto cheese stuffed shells, stuffed pasta shells, baked stuffed shells, pesto stuffed shells
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Author Kelly ~ the hungry bluebird


  • 1 (12-oz) box large pasta shells
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • cup shredded Italian blend cheese (another ¼ cup for topping)
  • ½ cup prepared basil pesto
  • couple grinds of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or jarred


  • Preheat oven to 375º
  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook pasta shells 2 minutes shy of package instructions.  Drain.  Drizzle large sheet pan with olive oil and toss hot pasta shells on pan.  Separate and let cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix ricotta, egg, pepper, shredded cheese and pesto until well combined.  Spread a few tablespoons of marinara sauce evenly over bottom of 9" X 13" baking dish.  Stuff each pasta shell with heaping tablespoon of mixture and place in baking dish (22 - 24 stuffed shells).  Sprinkle top with more shredded cheese.
  • Pour remaining marinara sauce over stuffed shells and cover with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Uncover, bake for 10 - 15 more minutes, until bubbling and cheese is melted.  


  • I cooked the whole box of noodles although only used about 24 cooked shells for the dish.
  • Store bought pesto is fine, that's what I used.  By all means, use homemade if you prefer.
  • Homemade marinara is what I prefer, but your favorite jarred marinara or pasta sauce will work just as well!