Baked Basil and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells


A hearty and comforting vegetarian pasta meal easy to prepare.  Giant pasta shells are filled with a pillowy light cheese sauce flavoured with plentiful of fresh basil, resting over a hearty tomato sauce. 

cheesy stuffed shells

I won’t like this recipe calls for a lot of basil.  In fact, normally you would find spinach is used with the cheese filling, but in this recipe, we have used basil plentifully here.  In fact, a few leaves won’t do, you will need a generous bouquet sized bunch of basil which means this recipe is suited if you have your own lush established basil plant.

stuffed pasta shells

stuffed pasta shells

Baked Basil and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 24 Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 450g Passata Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 400g ricotta cheese
  • 125g pecorino cheese grated
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1.5 cups basil finely chopped 
  • salt,pepper to taste
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup mozarella grated


  1. Boil pasta shells till al-dente ( still a little firm as they will be cooked a little further in the baking dish.
  2. Reserve one cup of water from the pasta.
  3. Rinse and strain.
  4. Caramelise garlic in a saucespan with the olive oil.
  5. Add tomato passata and parsley. Allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta water.Allow to simmer gently till it reduces down. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
  7. Mix the ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan, basil and touch of nutmeg. with a hand whisk.
  8. Stuff pasta shells. Line them in a baking dish.
  9. Before carefully pooring the tomato sauce into the baking dish check it is not too thick. Add a quarter of a cup of water. The shells will absorb much of the liquid in the sauce and if there isn't enough the dish may be a little dry. Don't go overboard with the water though.
  10. Top with mozarella. Or you could add the mozarella with the ricotta mix. The choice is yours.
  11. Allow to bake about 35-38 minutes in 190 degree Celsius oven.
  12. Serve.


Allow the tomato sauce to gently simmer for a good 10 minutes. This step will help the sauce develop its flavour.

The secret to any tasty tomato sauce is to add a little of the pasta water into the sauce. Try it, and let me know what you think.

stuffed pasta shells vegetarian

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks so delicious! 😋

    1. Thank you 😊

  2. Che bontà! 😍

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