Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs is a delicious and different variation on making classic stuffed pasta shells.
I once served these Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs to guests at a dinner party, and they all raved about them and asked for the recipe! I’m sure you’ve all had traditional stuffed shells- stuffed with ricotta and smothered in marinara sauce. This version is a little different. It’s a welcome change with a totally amazing outcome.
How to make Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs:
There are a few steps to making this recipe, so you have to be willing to spend a little more time in the kitchen than usual. There are tips included in this post for easier substitutions and make-ahead ideas, so be sure to read through the post.
You will be making a homemade sauce for this recipe instead of using red sauce from a jar. The sauce is a mix of chopped tomatoes, onion, fresh basil, crushed red pepper, garlic and olive oil.
The filling is a combination of ricotta cheese, feta cheese, basil, chives and eggs.
A little bit of sauce is spread into the pan with cheese filled shells placed on top and sauce spooned on top of the shells. More feta cheese and fresh basil are sprinkled on top before baking these Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs.
Ingredient notes and substitution suggestions:
- The sauce: The sauce is wonderful, and it’s very easy to assemble. If you want to save time though, you can substitute jarred marinara sauce for the homemade sauce in this recipe.
- Feta cheese: Don’t use reduced-fat feta cheese. The fat in the cheese contributes to the creaminess of the cheese filling. I like to use chunk feta instead of crumbles. And it will be most affordable to buy your feta cheese at a bulk store like Costco since you will need 14 ounces of feta.
- Chives: You can substitute two bunches of green onions for the chives, if you’d like.
Try preparing this same recipe of Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs using manicotti noodles instead of shells. It’s great both ways!
How to make a smaller portion:
Cut all of the ingredients in the recipe in half to make a smaller portion for a smaller family (or for just two people). You’ll still have plenty.
The sauce is actually more delicious when it’s made ahead and refrigerated overnight. So you can make the sauce on one day and assemble the dish and bake on the following day. Alternately, you can freeze one of the pans and enjoy it later. Prepare the stuffed shells as directed, but do not bake. Simply cover with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil; label the top, and place in the freezer. When ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap and then bake. You may have to bake for close to an hour since the shells will be frozen.
Time to try something new for dinner and make Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs. Enjoy!
Here are a few more stuffed shell recipes you might enjoy:
- Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
- Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
- Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Creamy White Sauce
- Spinach- Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Low Fat Stuffed Shells
Pasta Shells with Feta and Herbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Two 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes (with juices)
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Two 15-ounce containers ricotta cheese
- 14 ounces crumbled feta cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 bunches fresh chives, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
PREPARE THE SAUCE:
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, and add the onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and sauté 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce is reduced to 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and mix in the fresh basil.
PREPARE THE FILLING:
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 1/3 cups of the feta cheese, basil and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs.
COOK THE PASTA:
- Cook the shells in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly.
ASSEMBLE AND COOK:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread 3/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of each of two 13×9-inch glass baking dishes. Fill 30 shells and divide between the dishes. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining feta.
- Bake until the shells are heated through, about 40 minutes. Garnish with additional basil leaves.
- *To save time on cooking day, you may prepare the sauce a day in advance and refrigerate.
- *You may also prepare the entire dish a day ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.