Stuffed Shells
Can’t decide whether to have nachos or stuffed shells? Have them both in this fun and tasty fusion recipe. Photo courtesy National Pasta Association.





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October 2007
Last Updated November 2013

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Pastas

Recipe: Nacho Stuffed Shells

A Fusion Favorite, Nacho-Flavored Pasta


Almost everyone loves nachos, almost everyone loves stuffed shells. So this should be the perfect fusion dish! It certainly is fun and tasty. You can reduce the calories with lowfat versions of sour cream and cheddar. To spice it up, use Cabot’s Chipotle Cheddar or Hot Habañero Cheddar, or the 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeño Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheddar (for more information see

The conch shell, or conchiglie, is one of the more popular shapes of pasta. Jumbo shells can be stuffed with standard ricotta, luxurious crab or fusion flavors like taco or Thai fillings. Small shells are a great everyday pasta for sauce, soups, salads or macaroni and cheese. Read more about pasta shapes in our Pasta Glossary.

November 6th is National Nachos Day. Here’s the history of nachos.



  • 36 jumbo shells (12-ounce package), uncooked
  • ¾ pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1.25-ounce package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 16-ounce can refried beans with chilies
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup mild, medium or hot picante sauce
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce (a quality sauce makes a difference)
  • 2-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • Optional garnishes:
    Sour cream
    Grated Cheddar cheese
    Chopped jalapeños
    Chopped cilantro


  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking...
  2. SAUTÉ the beef in a large skillet until browned; drain well. Add the taco seasoning mix and water; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. STIR in the beans and cheese. Cook until smooth and well mixed.
  4. DRAIN cooked shells well. Fill the shells with beef mixture (1 to 2 tablespoons per shell).
  5. COMBINE the picante sauce and tomato sauce in a saucepan. Cook until heated, stirring occasionally.
  6. SPREAD ½ cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Place filled shells side by side on top of sauce; pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Sprinkle with olives. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions.
  7. COVER and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve immediately. Garnish as desired (let people help themselves to the garnishes).

Serves 8.

Nutritional Analysis/Serving

Values provided are for low-sodium, low-fat substitutions on all ingredients, and do not include optional garnishes.

Calories: 300
Calories from Fat: 22%
Total Fat: 7g
Saturated Fat: 3mg
Cholesterol: 20mg

Sodium: 360mg
Total Carbohydrates: 38g
Protein: 20g

Daily Value For: Vitamin A 30%; Vitamin C 25%; Calcium 20%; Iron 30%; Dietary Fiber 22%;


Recipe and photo courtesy of the National Pasta Association. Other material Lifestyle Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their individual owners.

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