Pesto Pasta Bake with Giant Shells

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This simple pesto pasta bake is a vegetarian main dish which is perfect for feeding a crowd. Giant pasta shells are stuffed with a creamy ricotta and pesto filling then baked with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Stuffing shells might sound like a faff but I promise it’s worth it 🙌

Overhead shot of pesto pasta bake in a baking dish on a blue background

You can’t beat that pesto flavour. Pesto is one of my favourite sauces and I’ve always got a couple of jars in the cupboard ready for quick dinners.

And obviously you could make your own for this recipe but I went for my favourite jarred brand to make it quicker and easier. That was mixed with ricotta and cheddar then stuffed into cooked pasta shells before baking. 

The whole thing comes out bubbling and delicious and oh so comforting. It also makes at least six portions so you can save the leftovers for lunches or quick dinner because it reheats really well.

Green baking dish of stuffed shells with pesto and tomato

Close up of stuffed pasta shells in a baking dish

Why we love this pesto pasta bake…

This pasta bake is the ultimate comfort food dish thanks to the filling pasta, creamy ricotta filling and rich tomato sauce with a tiny hint of spice.

Although it takes a little while to stuff the shells this recipe is actually really easy to make and as long as you’re organised it won’t take too long to make.

I kept this recipe pretty simple but you could add any extras you like including extra veggies, different cheeses or even some shredded chicken.

This recipe makes great leftovers and it keeps well in the fridge so it’s a great meal prep option.

Pesto pasta bake with a wooden spoon

Blue bowl of pesto pasta shells with a gold fork

Stuffed Pasta Shells Ingredients

Tomato Sauce: This is just a simple combination of olive oil, garlic, tinned tomatoes, dried oregano and chilli flakes although you could also use your favourite jarred brand if you prefer.

Conchiglioni: These are giant pasta shells which you can stuff with the cheesy pesto filling.

Pesto Filling: Mixture of ricotta, cheddar and pesto (store bought or homemade).

Mozzarella: Melted over the top until browned.

Overhead shot of stuffed pasta shells with a wooden spoon

Close up of pesto shells with tomato sauce

How to make pesto shells

Make the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil and fry the garlic gently then pour in the tomatoes, oregano, chilli flakes and plenty of seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Make the filling: Cook the pasta according to packet instructions then mix together the ricotta, cheddar and pesto in a bowl. Drain and rinse the pasta until cool enough to handle.

Finish the pasta bake: Fill each shell with a tablespoon of filling and place in a baking dish. Pour over the sauce and top with mozzarella then bake until browned.

Equipment you need to make this recipe…

Overhead shot of pesto pasta shells on a blue background

Close up of pesto pasta bake with tomato sauce

Want more? Try these other pasta recipes?

Overhead shot of pesto pasta bake in a baking dish on a blue background

Pesto Pasta Bake with Giant Shells

This simple pesto pasta bake is a vegetarian main dish which is perfect for feeding a crowd. Giant pasta shells are stuffed with a creamy ricotta and pesto filling then baked with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 450kcal
Author: Amy Fulwood

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 2 400g tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 400 g Conchiglioni
  • 500 g Ricotta
  • 100 g Cheddar grated
  • 100 g Basil Pesto
  • 250 g Mozzarella torn

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Rub a baking dish with oil. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
  • Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the garlic, fry gently for a minute then pour in the tomatoes. Add the oregano, chilli flakes and plenty of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  • While the sauce simmers add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions. Mix together the ricotta, cheddar and pesto. Drain the pasta and run under cold water until cool enough to handle.
  • Spread half the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and place on top of the sauce one by one. Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells then tear over the mozzarella. Put the baking dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Serve.
Nutrition Facts
Pesto Pasta Bake with Giant Shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 450 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 17g85%
Cholesterol 94mg31%
Sodium 785mg33%
Potassium 403mg12%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 1372IU27%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 586mg59%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @amycookreport on Instagram and hashtag it #thecookreport!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    17/02/2020 at 11:17 PM

    5 stars
    So easy to make! Delicious flavors going on!

  • Reply
    Krissy Allori
    18/02/2020 at 12:15 AM

    5 stars
    This is such a great dish. My family and I loved it. It was even better the day after for leftovers. So good!

  • Reply
    Carrie Robinson
    18/02/2020 at 12:38 AM

    5 stars
    My family would absolutely love this! Adding this to my weekly dinner plan soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    18/02/2020 at 12:55 AM

    5 stars
    We are fans of pesto too and this pesto pasta bake is perfect for my family.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    18/02/2020 at 1:28 AM

    5 stars
    I love that there is pesto in these cheese stuffed shells, one of my favorites! Great comfort food.

  • Leave a Reply

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