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  • Julianna Sweeney

Unstuffed Shells

Tyler and I were craving stuffed shells but I was not in the mood to put in the effort to make each individual shell and make it look all pretty. Thus, unstuffed shells was born (I'm definitely not the first person to come up with this dish, but in the moment I was pretty excited so I'm just gonna go with it LOL).

It was super easy, only took about 45 minutes to make from start to finish, I was able to incorporate protein and veggies into it and it made enough that we had leftovers for a few days. If you're looking for some easy comfort food to not feel (too) guilty about, try out the recipe below!


  • 1 box of small or medium shells (I used medium but it's all a matter of preference)

  • 1 packet of ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)

  • Fresh basil (to garnish)

  • Fresh mozzarella

  • 1 cup ricotta (you can add more of less depending on your taste)

  • Salt (to taste)

  • Pepper (to taste)

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 2 jars of your favorite tomato sauce

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Parsley (to taste)

  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)

  • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach

  • White cooking wine


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

  • Bring a pot of water to boil (for your pasta) with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil

  • While the pot is heating up, chop your garlic and onion and add to a pan with olive oil over medium heat - once they become translucent, add in your meat. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and parsley. Keep an eye on it as it cooks.

  • Once your water is boiling, add the shells. The key here is to undercook them slightly (or al dente) so that they don't become mush when you mix them with everything else and stick it in the oven. Keep an eye on them, mixing occasionally.

  • When your meat is almost done cooking, add a splash of the cooking wine.

  • Once your pasta is ready, drain and set to the side (Make sure you keep a little bit of the pasta water to incorporate into the rest of the dish)!

  • Once your meat is finished cooking, transfer it to a pyrex dish. You will then add in the sauce, splash of pasta water, ricotta, spinach and shells and mix until evenly distributed. Once everything is mixed, you can sprinkle the mozzarella on top.

  • Place in the oven for about 20 minutes (or until the mozzarella melts and the edges crisp up)

  • Carefully remove the dish from the oven and let set for about 10 minutes.

  • Once it's set, garnish with your fresh basil, serve and enjoy!


I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did - yes, it tastes as good as it looks! Let me know what you think and stay tuned for more yummy recipes!

Sending love always,


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