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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
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pesto stuffed shells, stuffed shells, stuffed shells in marinara
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 467kcal
Author Kelly ~ the hungry bluebird


  • 12 oz 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!


Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 673mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 992IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 2mg