A blend of cheeses and sautéed summer squash are stuffed into tender jumbo pasta shells. This light and flavorful meatless meal is perfect for the summer because it uses yellow squash and zucchini which are typically in abundance. Cheesy Summer Squash Stuffed Shells are the perfect way to make a classic Italian dish without all the fuss. This is a great dish for entertaining as it can be made in advance and baked when you’re ready. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, making this an excellent choice if you’re looking for something new.
This post is sponsored by The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA). All opinions are my own. For more inspiration during #JuneDairyMonth, be sure to check out delicious ideas from NFRA at EasyHomeMeals.com #JDM2021
This pasta meal has a classic cheesy flavor that will keep your taste buds happy and satisfied throughout dinner time! These shells look like they took hours of work, but they were actually pretty quick to pull together – what could be better? Give these stuffed shells a try with your next meal or serve them up at your next party – we promise people won’t stop raving about how delicious this spin on a classic truly is!
Before starting this recipe, you’ll want to verify that you have the following ingredients:
- Jumbo Shells – These will be boiled in a pan of salted water until al dente. Once cooked to perfection, strain out the water, and run shells under cool water (strain again) to make handling easier.
- Galbani® Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese – You will need 15 ounces for a single-layer baked meal. The 32-ounce size is perfect if you are making a larger double-layered portion of shells.
- Galbani® Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella – I used the one-pound block that is labeled “perfect for shredding”. Use half for a single layer of shells or the full pound for a double layer of shells.
- Zucchini – One medium zucchini washed and cut into bite-sized chunks was perfect.
- Summer Squash – One medium or two smalls is ideal for this recipe.
- Vidalia onion – One medium onion peeled and diced will add flavor and sweetness.
- Garlic – One large clove or two smaller cloves adds a nice flavor to the vegetables.
- Salt & pepper – To season your vegetables as they sauté.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – To sauté your vegetables in.
- Marinara Sauce – You will need 26 ounces for a single layer of shells.
Equipment and Supplies Needed
We used the following equipment and supplies to make this recipe. Items that are optional or can be substituted will be noted.
- 6-Quart stockpot – To cook pasta in.
- Colander – To drain water from the shells.
- Cutting board & knife – Used to chop your vegetables.
- Large skillet – To sauté your vegetables in.
- 11 x 13 casserole dish – To bake the shells in. We made a single layer, but you can also make a double layer in this size pan.
- Food processor – To shred mozzarella block cheese.
- Oven – Adjusted to the center rack to bake your shells.
This recipe is easy to make if you know the right tips and tricks! Here are some tips for the perfect batch of Summer Squash Stuffed Shells.
Not all cheeses are created equally. For these shells, we really love the Galbani® brand. Through years of experience, I have come to the conclusion that shredding my own cheese for meals like these stuffed shells produces tastier results. Not only did we use the smooth and creamy Galbani® Whole Milk Ricotta (which is a great replacement for sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese), but we also used their Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese block which is perfect for shredding.
When you shred your own cheese with either a grater or food processor, it creates a creamier cheese that is not dried, or lackluster when baked. The reason shredding your own cheese is best is because the freshly shredded cheese doesn’t have the same additives that pre-packed shredded cheese contains to prevent the shreds from sticking.
Doubling the Recipe
To make two pans or a double-layered pan of stuffed shells, simply use the following measurements:
- 12 ounces of pasta shells (entire box)
- 32 ounces of Ricotta. Galbani® Whole Milk Ricotta is available in 15, 32, and 48-ounce sizes.
- 16 ounces of Galbani® Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese which is perfect for shredding.
- (2) 26-ounce jars of marinara sauce – one to line the bottom of the pan, and one to pour over the final layer of shells.
For a double layer, add one jar of sauce to the bottom of the pan, and one jar of sauce over the top of the second layer of shells. Cover all shells with an additional layer of mozzarella cheese.
If you want to store your Summer Squash Stuffed Shells, just follow these easy steps.
Store any cooled shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days for best taste. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes per portion.
To make a freezer meal use the following instructions:
- Line a freezer-safe, disposable aluminum pan with the entire contents of a 26-ounce jar of sauce.
- Stuff cooked pasta shells with the cheesy vegetable mixture.
- Top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the pan tightly with multiple layers of foil and plastic wrap, and freeze with the date, and cooking instructions. To reheat, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and cook for 50 minutes covered, and an additional 10 minutes uncovered. If thawed, cook for 30 minutes (20 minutes covered, and 10 minutes uncovered).
Ready to make these flavorful, meatless stuffed shells? Check out our recipe card below! Remember, you can double this recipe easily or make an extra batch for the freezer! See the notes for details.
Cheesy Summer Squash Stuffed Shells
- large skillet
- 6 quart stockpot
- cutting board & knife
- food processor
- 11 x 13 pan
- mixing bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- spoon (to scoop mixture into shell)
- 16 jumbo stuffed shells
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 small summer squash or one medium.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium Vidalia onion chopped
- 15 ounces Galbani® Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
- 8 ounces Galbani® Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese (half the block)
- 26 ounces marinara sauce
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped to garnish
- Over medium heat, add oil to a large skillet. Add in chopped squash, garlic, and diced onion. Season with salt & pepper and pan fry stirring ocassionally until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and add 1/4 tsp of salt to it for flavor. Add your jumbo shells and boil until al dente. Using the collander, drain hot water from the shells and rinse in cool water. Drain any additional water from the shells before stuffing.
- In a food processor, add small pieces of Galbani® Mozzarella cheese, and process until finely shredded.
- Add your ricotta cheese, 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and sauteed vegetables to a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
- Add 26 ounces of pasta sauce to the bottom of your 11 x 13 pan.
- Using a tablespoon, generously fill each shell with filling, and add shells directly on top of the sauce. Sprinkle shells with additional cheese and bake for 20 minutes covered. At the 20-minute mark, remove the foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle dish with fresh parsley before serving.
- 12 ounces of pasta shells
- 32 ounces of Ricotta
- 16 ounces of mozzarella cheese
- (2) 26-ounce jars of marinara sauce