You’ll need a big pot for our baked shells with meat sauce recipe—it’ll feed an army! Fresh veggies, a jar of spaghetti sauce and plenty of cheese make it a hearty dish that’s sure to become a family favorite.
And we aren’t kidding about the pot. Having a large ovenproof pot is ideal, but a 4-quart casserole dish will work just as well.
If you’re not having a crowd, fill up two smaller casseroles—one for the oven and the other for the freezer to whip out on another day. Just another reason why we love this recipe!
Baked Shells with Meat Sauce Recipe
- 8 oz pasta, medium shell
- 1 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, or red onion, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
- 14.5 oz can tomatoes, fire roasted, diced
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Bring a large ovenproof pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a rapid boil, add the pasta and stir to prevent sticking. Cook for only half of the recommended time—approx. 4-5 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander then set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move a rack to the lower 1/3 of the oven—make sure there is enough clearance for the pot!
- Meanwhile, place the same pot over medium-high heat and add the ground beef. Season with salt and cook, breaking it up into chunks until mostly browned. Add the diced onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and continue cooking an additional 5–6 minutes until the onion and bell pepper have begun to soften.
- Add the marinara sauce, sugar, dried basil, crushed red pepper flakes and tomatoes (with juice) and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a bubble then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 8 minutes then remove from heat.
- Stir in sour cream, provolone, mozzarella and partially cooked pasta shells. Combine thoroughly and top with Parmesan. Cover with lid or foil and bake 30-35 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Don’t worry if the sauce mixture seems a little bit thin. The pasta is only half cooked and it’ll absorb quite a bit of the moisture.