These stuffed shells are easy to prepare and cook in the slow cooker. The shells are filled with a mixture of browned ground beef, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs, then they're slow cooked with your favorite spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese.
The ground beef filling makes these a hearty meal and a favorite of meat lovers. Feel free to use ground turkey for a lighter filling. Italian sausage is another option for the filling. Brown the sausage with the garlic and onion and then continue with the recipe.
- 18 to 20 pasta shells (jumbo, about 6 to 8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Italian, Parmesan, or garlic seasoned)
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 32 ounces spaghetti sauce (or marinara, your favorite)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water following the package directions, just until tender and still firm; drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. When the skillet is hot, add the ground beef; break it up into smaller chunks with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the onion to the skillet and continue to cook until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute longer; drain well.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the mozzarella cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and egg. Mix thoroughly.
- Stuff the meat and cheese mixture into the drained pasta shells set aside.
- Pour about half of the spaghetti sauce or marinara into the slow cooker insert.
- Arrange stuffed shells in the sauce.
- Spoon the remaining sauce over the stuffed shells and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Cover the pot and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Make sure you cook the pasta just until it's al dente. The shells will be much easier to fill and arrange in the slow cooker. Plus, they'll soften even more when they're cooked with the filling, so could be mushy if they're overcooked initially.
Drain the fat from cooking the beef into a jar and discard it in the trash. Fats can cause clogged drains and damaged pipes; never pour fats down the drain.