Stuffed Shells with Tomato Sauce

Save Recipe

Cheesy baked shells with Marcella Hazan’s incredibly simple and flavorful tomato sauce.


  • 1 (28) ounce can whole plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese, shredded
  • Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Place the tomatoes (with the juices), onion halves, and butter in a medium-sized pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Break the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon and let it all lightly simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shells and boil them for 9-10 minutes. You want them very al dente – they will finish cooking in the oven. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the filling by combining the cheese, nutmeg, parsley, and egg in a medium-sized bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Drain the shells and place them on a sheet pan to keep them from sticking to each other.
  4. Remove the onion from the sauce and discard. If you want a smooth sauce use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Coat the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 9-inch glass pie pan) with about 1/2 of the sauce. Fill each shell with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the filling. Place in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the top.
  5. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand a couple of minutes before serving.


Keywords: stuffed shells, easy tomato sauce recipe