These ricotta and basil stuffed shells are such a comforting meal for me to remember! This was a staple in our house growing up for meals my mom would make; it’s a recipe that was passed down from her mother to her.

– Chef Brian Kacinko, Executive Chef at Douglasville Convention Center

Chef Brian's Stuffed Shells


  • 18-20 jumbo pasta shells
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 oz basil
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese, more for sprinkling
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt, more for the pasta water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, plus more for serving
  • chopped parsley, for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Chop basil leaves, and in a medium bowl, combine the basil with the ricotta, pecorino, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta shells for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Allow them to cool completely before adding ricotta mixture to shells.
  • Spread the marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the filling and place in the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with more marinara on the side.


*If you don’t have time to make your own marinara, you can use a nice store-bought brand if preferred. To get ahead, you can stuff the shells and place them in the baking dish with the marinara up to 4 hours in advance. Cover with foil and store them in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Then, just bake and eat!
by Dina Biondo in Recipes