Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara

Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara Recipe
Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
This dish goes straight from the freezer to oven - no thawing required. The fire-roasted tomatoes in the marinara sauce give the dish a subtle smoky flavor. You can also easily vary the filling by adding basil or oregano and a different cheese. (We tried fontina instead of mozzarella and threw in some arugula for a peppery bite.) Make some garlic bread and a green salad and dinner's on.


2 casseroles, 5 servings per dish (serving size: about 4 stuffed shells and about 1/2 cup smoky marinara)

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Calories 470
Caloriesfromfat 30 %
Fat 15.7 g
Satfat 8.8 g
Monofat 4.7 g
Polyfat 0.9 g
Protein 28.3 g
Carbohydrate 52.7 g
Fiber 5.3 g
Cholesterol 47 mg
Iron 3.8 mg
Sodium 916 mg
Calcium 508 mg


1 pound jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
Cooking spray
1 (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, Smoky Marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.

Barbara Seelig Brown,

Cooking Light

March 2003
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