Pizza Stuffed Shells

Pizza Stuffed Shells – jumbo pasta shells stuffed with melty cheese, sausage, and pepperoni, topped with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella – SO good! Kids and adults gobble this up!! Can make ahead of time and freeze for later. Serve with a salad and crusty garlic bread for a meal that rivals any restaurant.

plate of stuffed shells with text overlay

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Sausage & Pepperoni Stuffed Shells

These Pizza Stuffed Shells are a staple at our house. I’ve been making this delicious recipe forever! This recipe is super easy to make and tastes great! Jumbo shells stuffed with melty cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and smothered with spaghetti sauce. Comfort food at its best! We ate this pasta for dinner and fought over the leftovers for lunch! SO good!

baking dish of stuffed pasta shells

How to Make Pizza Stuffed Shells

This casserole is super easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook jumbo pasta shells in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta shells and cool until easy to handle. 

While the pasta is cooking, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain excess grease.

In a large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, an egg, cooked sausage, and mini pepperoni. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 

With a spoon, stuff the cooked shell with the cheese filling and place them in the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Pour pasta sauce over the top of the shells and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the casserole. Bake uncovered until bubbly. Garnish with casserole with fresh herbs such as fresh parsley or fresh basil.

Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • My favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label), Rao’s, and La Famiglia DelGrosso.
  • I use Italian sausage. Can substitute ground beefItalian sausage, or turkey sausage.
  • I use mini pepperoni in this dish. You can use chopped pepperoni slices if you prefer.
  • What cheese goes in stuffed shells? I use cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Feel free to use different types of cheeses
    • Don’t like cottage cheese? You can substitute ricotta cheese.
  • Feel free to add some onion, bell peppers, black olives, or mushrooms to the cheese mixture.
  • Can Stuffed Shells be made in advance? Yes! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time if baking straight from the refrigerator.
  • Can Stuffed Shells be frozen? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze.
    • When ready to bake, thaw the frozen shells and bake as directed.
    • The shells will keep for 3 to 4 months in the freezer.
  • This makes a lot of food. Feel free to split the casserole between two pans. Bake one and freeze one for later.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
plate of stuffed shells

What to Serve with Baked Pasta

This baked pasta is an all-time family favorite. I might have eaten two large servings of this cheesy goodness. Sorry, not sorry! We like to serve this with some garlic bread and a side salad. Perfecto! I am counting down the days until we make this again!! SO good!

Looking for more side dish ideas? Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this easy stuffed shells recipe:

Creamy Italiano Salad

Creamy Italiano Salad with Homemade Dressing Recipe – our favorite salad!!! Romaine, tomatoes, thinly sliced seedless cucumbers, sliced banana peppers,…

Italian Green Bean Salad

Italian Green Bean Salad – quick and delicious side dish! Green beans, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, prosciutto, and mozzarella tossed…

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread – refrigerated biscuits chopped and tossed in butter, garlic, italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Baked in…

scooping stuffed shells from baking dish with text overlay

Pizza Stuffed Shells

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Pizza Stuffed Shells – jumbo pasta shells stuffed with melty cheese, sausage and pepperoni, topped with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella – SO good! Kids and adults gobble this up!! Can make ahead of time and freeze for later. Serve with a salad and crusty garlic bread for a meal that rivals any restaurant.

Ingredients:

  • 21 jumbo shells
  • 1 (24 to 26-oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (16-oz) container cottage cheese
  • cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ lb Italian sausage
  • cup mini pepperoni
  • 1 large egg

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.
  • In a skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain excess grease.
  • Pour ½ cup of spaghetti sauce into the prepared pan.
  • Combine cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, sausage, and pepperoni.
  • Stuff pasta shells with cheese mixture. Place on top of spaghetti sauce. Spread remaining sauce on top of stuffed shells. Top with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes.

Notes:

spaghetti sauce
  • My favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label), Rao’s, and La Famiglia DelGrosso.
  • I use Italian sausage. Can substitute ground beef, Italian sausage, or turkey sausage.
  • I use mini pepperoni in this dish. You can use chopped pepperoni slices if you prefer.
  • What cheese goes in stuffed shells? I use cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Feel free to use different types of cheeses
    • Don’t like cottage cheese? You can substitute ricotta cheese.
  • Feel free to add some onion, bell peppers, black olives, or mushrooms to the cheese mixture.
  • Can Stuffed Shells be made in advance? Yes! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time if baking straight from the refrigerator.
  • Can Stuffed Shells be frozen? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze.
    • When ready to bake, thaw the frozen shells and bake as directed.
    • The shells will keep for 3 to 4 months in the freezer.
  • This makes a lot of food. Feel free to split the casserole between two pans. Bake one and freeze one for later.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Steph

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scooping stuffed shells from baking dish with text overlay

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Comments

  1. As a time saver you could use already cooked sausage crumbles and diced pepperoni. Look for these in the fridge section where like the pepperoni would be. I wanna try these they look amazing!

    1. Great time saving tips! I usually brown all my hamburger meat and sausage on Sunday and throw it in the freezer.

  2. These were delicious…a big hit with the whole family, even the 7 yr old who usually doesn't care for stuffed shells.

  3. Lisa – you can substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese. I am not a cottage cheese fan either – I only eat it baked in pasta dishes.

    Enjoy!

  4. Hi Stephanie – is it possible to use Ricotta cheese vs. Cottage cheese? I'm not a fan of Cottage cheese. Thanks!

  5. Terri – I used regular pork sausage in this particular recipe. You can use either one. Enjoy!

  6. Did you use regular pork sausage or Italian sausage? Just curious because I don't particularly like the taste of Italian sausage…

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