Northern Italian Pasta Shell Stuffing

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Northern Italian Pasta Shell Stuffing Northern Italian Pasta Shell Stuffing Recipe Courtesy of

Cook Time: 1 hour 25 min
Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients Add to grocery list

3 packages frozen, chopped spinach
3 pounds ground round
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 large onions, chopped
Grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
2 jumbo eggs
1 (1-pound) package jumbo pasta shells
2 cups tomato sauce (your own or ready-made)





Place frozen spinach in a strainer and run under hot water until thawed. Squeeze all of the water out and place in a large bowl. In a large saute pan, cook the ground round until browned. Drain meat, reserving 2 tablespoons fat in the pan, and place meat in the same bowl with the spinach. Stir in the cream cheese until blended with the meat and spinach. Saute the chopped onions in the reserved meat fat until transparent. Transfer onions to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir to combine. Add grated cheese, salt, and pepper, to taste, and combine. Let mixture cool and then add the eggs. The filling can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta shells in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and cool to the touch. Stuff the shells with the meat mixture. Place shells in a large baking pan and cover with tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1 hour. Serve.

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Reader Comments:


Time consuming but well worth it! I used extra sauce on top (double) and next time will add a little shredded mozzarella on top near the end of baking.

By Ashley on August 10, 2013


I love this recipe!

By helen on July 16, 2013


I make a mexican version of this and they are so good. I was happy to find this recipe, because I was thinking about trying an Italian version with the spinach!

By Dovey on June 28, 2013


I love nortern italian pasta shell stuffing y all.

By Donna on October 20, 2012


I just made this tonight for my family. We all loved it !!!!! And i dont even like spinach...LOL !!!!!

By Divasing on October 01, 2012


Love this recipe, done it once before and came out so good. I'm literally doing it again right now, love me some Paula Deen.

By Don Graham III on September 23, 2012


We love this stuff!!! To much work for stuffed shells so we make it Lasagna instead! Use whole wheat lasagna noodles and fat free cream cheese to "lighten" it up a bit. SO delish!

By Carole on September 09, 2012


I have made this dish on several occasions and have gotten great reveiws! It is relatively simple to put together and we always enjoy it. I always pick up an extra box of the shells and cook a few extra to accomodate all of hte stuffing. Try this recipe... You won't be sorry!

By Chris McKay on March 19, 2012


A few months ago i bought the set of Paula deen pans [[red]] i liked them so well especially the padded handles, i bought both my daughters a set for Xmas, an they love them,my best friend has a birthday coming up an i will also buy her a set as a b/d gift,I watch your cooking show everyday,an have made several of your recipes,also congrats to Bobby on his new show, Sincerely Lorraine-Boisclair

By Lorraine-Boisclair on January 09, 2012


instead of using frozen spinich try replacing with fresh spinich. I use 1 bag of fresh spinich for a halved receipe. Just before the onions are done I throw in the chopped fresh spinich and cook down.

By Kevin on December 20, 2011


Excellant! Takes a while to make but well worth it. My family loves this dish.

By Stacy on November 26, 2011


I have been making this recipe for some time and my family just loves it and keeps asking for more. Thank you Paula Deen for a great recipe!

By Lillian Alexander on September 22, 2011


I love love Northern Italian Pasta Shell Stuffing. This recipe is great for people do not like spinach. My Husband loves this recipe. I also used manicotti that was also great.

By Darline on September 05, 2011


This is a great recipe. For those of you who dont like leftovers try reducing this recipe by half, this makes engough food for about 8-10 people. I used 1/2 ground beef, and 1/2 mild Italian sausage!! I have made this several times and it gets rave reviews.!!

By M. Keating on July 11, 2011


This was DELICIOUS. The stuffing was creamy and was so much better than I could have imagined. I had my doubts while I was preparing it, but in the end it all came together. It is an impressive dish. Also, note that the boxes of shells sold are almost always 12 ozs not a lb. I made a half recipe of the stuffing with only one box of spinach instead of 1 and 1/2 and it was PERFECT. It made about 30 shells in a 9x13 pan. Each adult ate about 5-6 shells for dinner. However, I had leftovers for lunch and could only really eat 2. I hope that helps!

By tricia tacquard on May 23, 2011


DE-LI-CIOUS!!!!! Notice that the box of pasta is 12 ozs and not a pound. That is why you have WAY too much stuffing left over. I made half a recipe with only one box of spinach since I couldn't break one in half for the half recipe and it was really much better than I could have expected. It was nice and creamy tasting. I was in a pasta coma for the rest of the night. It made one 9x13 pan of about 30 shells-FYI. Each person had about 5-6 shells a piece. My 9 yr old daughter had 3 shells. I just want to help you figure out how much you will need.

By tricia tacquard on May 23, 2011


this is such a great recipe! so easy to make and absolutely delicious! my boyfriend raves about this dish, he says its just as good as anything in an upscale Italian restaurant

By Jillian on April 19, 2011


Love this recipe....Yummy cant even describe it...

By karla on February 16, 2011


This is a wonderful recipe. I make it when we have company because it feeds a lot of people. I have even put Sun Dried Alfredo sauce in place of the Tomato Sauce.

By Dana on January 03, 2011


By Anonymous on December 03, 2010

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