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The secret to getting this Sunday night dinner worthy meal on the table any day of the week is that you don't boil the pasta! Save yourself the time and hassle of boiling the noodles and just fill them uncooked. Nestle them in classic tomato sauce, top with shredded cheese and bake to al dente perfection in the oven!
It's true! You DON'T need to boil your pasta anymore!
- The moisture from the red sauce and water is going to cook the jumbo shell noodles to al dente perfection right in the baking dish! This means you don't need to fill a pot with water, wait for the water to boil, cook the noodles or strain the noodles.
- It also means that you won't have to try to hang on to slippery noodles and somehow magically fill them with the cheesy spinach filling. Uncooked noodles are obviously much easier to hold and fill - so you're welcome!
How to make stuffed shells:
Saute onion in olive oil along with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic, oregano and sage. Cook for another minute or so.
Add spaghetti sauce.
Pour in water.
Add fresh chopped parsley and stir to combine.
Add spinach, ricotta, about ½ of the mozzarella, all of the Parmesan, egg and a pinch of salt and pepper to a large bowl.
Mix until well combined.
Fill uncooked jumbo shells with a couple tablespoons of filling each.
Nestle stuffed jumbo shells into the sauce in a single layer. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and cover with tin foil or a lid.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until noodles are al dente. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!
Tips for making the best baked pasta:
- Fill the empty 24 oz. pasta sauce jar halfway (with 12 oz. of water) then shake the water up in the pasta jar and pour the water into the pan. This will ensure that you get every last bit of sauce out of that jar!
- Feel free to make these shells ahead of time and store them in your fridge until you're ready to bake. Then just follow the baking instructions below. Plan to add a few extra minutes of baking since the pasta will be going into the oven cold.
- Shred your own cheese. Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself!
Pre-shredded cheeses are coated with cellulose to help the shreds not stick together. Which also means that it won’t melt as well. I’ve often found that buying cheese in blocks is cheaper than pre-shredded too!
If you liked these stuffed shells, you're going to love these other delish pastas:
- One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff
- Wonton Ravioli with Arugula Pesto
- Easy Tomato + Garlic Bucatini
- No Boil Baked Manicotti
- 30 Minute Baked Ravioli
- Easy Homemade Lasagna
This post was originally published in November 2018. It was updated in October 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best stuffed shells every single time!