Summer Stuffed Shells.
These summer stuffed shells are the perfect way to enjoy a cozy comforting dish and use up your fresh garden produce! Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, pesto, zucchini, corn and more – these are a dream come true! Easy to make, feeds a crowd and you have lots of leftovers!
This may be one of my most favorite summer dinners ever!
These summer stuffed shells are a seasonal version of one of our favorite comfort foods, complete with garden vegetables, lots of cheese and dollops of basil pesto. Delicious and satisfying, perfect when you want a cozy meal in the middle of summer!
Okay, maybe you don’t want this when it’s 100 degrees out. But on a slightly slightly cooler summer day, these hit the spot! When you have some garden vegetables to use up, when you want a cozy dish that can feed the family and provide great leftovers and when you want something that tastes wonderful!
This is it. THE MEAL.
2022 was the year that I fell in love with stuffed shells. I mean, I always liked them. They were okay. Not my favorite, but I’d eat them. But something happened last year where I just started loving them. They became one of my favorite meals, something I love to make with a giant salad on a cold winter day. They are easy, I love the leftovers and they can feed a crowd. Basically a win all around.
Up until last year, the only stuffed shells I went absolutely crazy for were my french onion stuffed shells. Those are out of this world. Then, I started making these short rib shells. Those are what really sealed the deal for me.
So since I am so over the moon for this dish, I’ve been throwing together summer versions of the shells. Think tons of fresh pesto, garden zucchini, corn cut straight from the cob, cheese, marinara and more.
The whole thing is a delicious pan of summer comfort food, complete with buttery herbs and melty cheese out of the wazoo. I can’t help it.
Like other stuffed shell recipes, there are a few steps but in general, it’s easy!
This is how it goes down.
The key here is using one pan. I like to use a cast iron braiser or skillet, and I cook the vegetables in this, then use the same pan to bake the shells in. Minimal dishes!
Well, sort of. Because we still have a ways to go.
To start, I boil the jumbo shells first. I like to get that part out of the way, and I want them to be cool enough to handle too.
Next, I saute onions and garlic, then add in the zucchini and corn. Let it be noted that you can add in any other summer garden veggies you have and love! Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes – anything.
While the vegetables cook down, I make the ricotta filling. This is a fairly basic filling that I make for traditional stuffed shells, but there is pesto! Turning it into an herby delight.
Then, the vegetables get mixed into the pesto ricotta bowl. Toss it all together! This is what we’re going to stuff inside those tender pasta shells.
Using that same skillet from the beginning – throw in some marinara. Homemade to store-bought, whatever works. I really love Raos.
Then, get to stuffing! Stuff the jumbo shells full of the pesto ricotta vegetable mixture. Then place them directly into the marinara in the pan. Repeat with allll the shells until your arms get a workout.
Then, I add more pesto. This is optional, of course. But if you really love it like I do, you’ll probably enjoy a little dollop on each shell!
Time for cheese. My favorite sentence to say. I sprinkle on lots of cheese and then bake this baby. You want it bubbly, golden, melty, hot as can be.
When it comes out of the oven, I sprinkle on parmesan and fresh basil. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down and then serve it up.
This is so cozy. So delicious. Wonderfully warming, easy to throw together, customisable based on your preferences – the list goes on. And it’s worth heating up the kitchen, because you can eat it for the next three days!
Have you ever seen something so wonderful?!
Summer Stuffed Shells
Summer Stuffed Shells
- 20 to 25 jumbo pasta shells, boiled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 zucchini squash, chopped
- 2 ears of corn, corn cut from the cob
- kosher salt and pepper
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ⅔ cup pesto, I like basil pesto for this, plus more for serving
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- fresh basil, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Boil the pasta shells in salted water according to the package directions. Drain once cooked.
- Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe dutch oven or cast iron skillet. Add in the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until slightly softened. Stir in the zucchini and squash with another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the parmesan and ⅓ cup of pesto. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Transfer the zucchini corn mixture to the ricotta and stir it in until combined.
- Add the marinara sauce to the oven-safe pan that you cooked the zucchini corn mixture in.
- Take each jumbo pasta shell and stuff it with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ricotta pesto filling. Place the shells in marinara sauce in the pan. Repeat with the remaining shells. If you end up with too many shells, add some sauce in a small baking dish or pan and layer the shells in there.
- Dollop the remaining pesto on top of the shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until warm and golden and bubbly.
- Remove the pan and let it sit for a few minutes. Top with extra parmesan, fresh basil and even more pesto if you wish. Serve!