Freezer-Friendly Deluxe Pizza Stuffed Shells
Classic stuffed shells meet deluxe pizza in this fusion of Italian meals… they’re easy to make, freezer friendly, and great for families!
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Who’s ready for some comfort food? Me!! Don’t get me wrong… I love great classic summer foods like my chopped bbq chicken salad with a side of sweet corn fritters and a grilled fruit pizza for dessert… but there’s just something amazing about a big baking dish full of pure comfort food! Today I’m partnering with Ragu to bring you my latest creation. Deluxe pizza stuffed shells!
Literally everything you love about a classically loaded deluxe pizza mixed with comforting baked stuffed shells. It’s super easy to put together, (and you can even do parts of it ahead of time), PLUS, it’s totally freezer-friendly! Once you put it all together, cover and freeze. Then just pull it out of the freezer the night before you want to eat it and let it thaw in the refrigerator. You could bake it frozen too, I think… I’ve never done it that way before, but I would think you’d need to add about 15 minutes to the bake time.
One of the secret weapons to these stuffed shells is the pasta sauce. You’re definitely going to want to use a brand you know and love. I love Ragu’s new Homestyle line of sauces… they’re truly thick and hearty, and made with NO artificial flavors or colors and NO high fructose corn syrup. So many jarred pasta sauces need some additional spices to make them taste good… but not these! My personal favorite is the roasted garlic flavor 🙂
Feel free to customize these stuffed shells to your tastes… just add whatever ingredients you like on a deluxe pizza (or any pizza for that matter). For me, that meant using mild Italian sausage, onions, green bell peppers, pepperoni, garlic, cheese, and of course, basil 🙂
These stuffed shells are great to take to a friend who’s ill or recently had a baby, since it can just hang out in the freezer. Trust me, they’ll LOVE you for it!
Do me a favor, and check out all the flavors of Ragu’s Homestyle sauces… I dare you to try them and pick just one favorite!!
- 1/2 lb sausage
- 1/2 medium yellow onion minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup mini pepperoni plus extra for topping
- 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning plus additional for topping
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh basil minced
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- Box of jumbo pasta shells
- 1 oz jar pasta sauce 26-, I love Ragu Homestyle Roasted Garlic
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Minced fresh parsley and basil for garnish
Boil jumbo pasta shells according to package directions, minus 1-2 minutes. You want them a little bit undercooked since they'll continue cooking in the oven.
Drain shells and let cool a bit.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over MED heat and brown sausage. Use spatula or potato masher to finely crumble the sausage as it browns.
The last few minutes of cooking the sausage, add onions, green pepper and garlic.
Drain in a colander.
To a mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, cooked sausage, onions, green pepper, garlic, pepperoni, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning and basil.
Spread about 1/3 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Use a spoon to fill pasta shells with cheese mixture, then place shells in baking dish.
Top with remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with final 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Add some additional mini pepperoni slices, and sprinkle with a bit of Italian seasoning.
If freezing, at this point, cover tightly and freeze.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Garnish with grated Parmesan and minced fresh herbs.
1. Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken
2. To bake from frozen: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed in recipe.