Tuscan Stuffed Shells are large pasta shells filled with a rich and cheesy mixture baked in a cream sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. Try my Three Cheese Stuffed Shells for another satisfying and cheesy pasta dish.

Overhead Skillet of Tuscan Stuffed Shells

Tuscan Stuffed Shells

I have more than ten recipes for stuffed shells, from Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells to Chicken Taco Stuffed Shells, just to name a couple. They are delicious and filling meals that are the perfect comfort food. Tuscan Stuffed Shells are no exception. The filling is the mixture I used in my Five Cheese Ravioli and the sauce is a cream sauce made with onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach.

Raw Ingredients for Tuscan Stuffed Shells

Tuscan Stuffed Shells Ingredients

There are two main parts to this recipe–the filling and the cream sauce.

Filling: Five kinds of cheese are mixed together for the filling: ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, and cream cheese. 

Pasta: I was able to fill about 20 large pasta shells with the five-cheese filling. Jumbo shells would also work; you just may fill fewer shells. The shells only need to boil for about 4 minutes before being stuffed. They will not be fully cooked, but they will cook more when in the oven.

Sauce: The sauce is a cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach added to the mix. I will let you know how to soften the sun-dried tomatoes before they go into the sauce.

Cheese: Shredded mozzarella cheese is used to top the shells for even more cheesiness!

Process for Making Tuscan Stuffed Shells in Skillet

How to Soften Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Before you make the sauce, be sure to soften and chop the sun-dried tomatoes. They are softened so they blend into the sauce (and not be crunchy). To soften the tomatoes, first, bring a pot of water to a boil. Next, add the tomatoes to the boiling water, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer.

Let the sun-dried tomatoes simmer for about 3 minutes. Then, drain them and let them cool before chopping. Set them aside until ready to add them to the sauce.

Skillet of Tuscan Stuffed Shells with Spoon

How to Freeze

To freeze this dish, prepare the meal following the instructions, but don’t bake it. The only difference is to place the stuffed shells in a 9×13-inch aluminum pan. Cover it with aluminum foil and don’t forget to write the name of the dish and the instructions, along with the date. When you are ready to bake, take it out of the freezer, uncover, and bake. Since you are baking from frozen the cook time will likely be longer. If stored properly, this will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Cut Into Tuscan Stuffed Shell

More Stuffed Shells Recipes

4.84 from 6 votes

Tuscan Stuffed Shells

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Tuscan Stuffed Shells are large pasta shells filled with a rich and cheesy mixture and baked in a creamy sauce topped with mozzarella cheese.



  • 6 ounces large pasta shells, approximately 20 shells


  • 1 cup (246 g) ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup (56.5 g) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup (50 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup (50 g) romano cheese, grated
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely diced


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (27.5 g) sun-dried tomatoes, softened in hot water and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240 g) chicken broth
  • 1 cup (238 g) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (30 g) fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup (25 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup (113 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • basil, chopped (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.


  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta 4 minutes less than the instructions on the box. (The shells will continue to cook in the oven.) Drain the noodles and let them cool enough to touch.


  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, romano cheese, cream cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.
  • Add mixture to a piping bag (or a zipped plastic bag).
  • Once noodles are cooled, use the piping bag to fill the individual noodles with the filling. Set aside.


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add butter. Once the butter has melted, add onions and cook until translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add flour and cook 1-2 more minutes. (The mixture will thicken.)
  • Add broth, and stir, using a wooden spoon. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add heavy cream, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Continue cooking until the spinach is wilted, or about 3-5 minutes.


  • To a 12-inch cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet, add 1 cup of the sauce.
  • Top the sauce with an even layer of the stuffed noodles.
  • Cover the pasta with the remaining sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. (Make sure the shells are completely coated with the sauce to prevent the pasta from getting crunchy.)
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Then, broil the shells for 2-3 minutes (watching carefully), or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  • Serve garnished with fresh basil.

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Reader Comments

  1. This was so salty that it was inedible for our entire family! Would suggest a quarter of the salt recommended.

    1. If you used table salt and not Kosher salt, like the recipe indicated, then you effectively used double the amount. Table salt is much smaller and “saltier” than kosher. So (approximately) 1 teaspoon kosher salt = 2 teaspoons table salt. If you weren’t able to follow the recipe then I can see how this might be too salty.

  2. 4 stars
    Made these and they were just about a hit for me. For some reason my filling didn’t stay together – it was melted and oozing out of the shells when I was trying to serve. The sauce is delicious and makes the dish for sure! The cooking time seemed short, but they turned out fine. Might try my go to stuffed shells cheese filling with basil (instead of parsley and lemon zest) next time to see if that goes better.

  3. I’m excited to try this recipe! One question though, the ingredients list only has basil listed for fresh herbs, but in the instructions you have parsley. If parsley goes into the cheese filling, is it still only 1 tsp, or should the instructions say basil?

    1. I know this is late to your comment, but these kind of answers always help me when I’m trying out a new recipe. I used the jarred sun dried tomatoes in oil and the sauce turned out great. I just diced them up and added (no doing the boiling water for dried method).

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