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  • Writer's pictureHeather Green

My Mom's Pasta Sauce and Stuffed Shells Recipe

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

In this episode, I'm going to show you how to make my Mother's Pasta Sauce as well as a Stuffed Shells Recipe that will rival any restaurant.


The Pasta Sauce is rather simple to put together but lovingly simmered on the stove for an hour. With the addition of Merlot (which is optional), it enhances the richness of the herbs and tomatoes.

The Stuffed Shells are able to be frozen and used for days you don't have time to cook an extravagant meal, but would still like to feel like you did.

They're filled with a mixture of the three Cheese's of Cottage, Mozzarella, and Parmesan and when baked and topped with my mother's delicious Pasta Sauce, you'll fool anyone into thinking they are restaurant leftovers.

My Mother's Sauce Recipe:


  • 1lb of ground beef or turkey

  • 1 Onion

  • 1-2 cloves of Garlic

  • 4 tbsp parsley

  • 2 tbsp Oregano

  • 6-8 oz can of tomato paste (use this can to measure out 1 and a half cans of water to be added

  • 1 large can 36oz of diced or pureed tomato

  • 1 jar of regular pasta sauce (I prefer the Classico 4 Cheese, but use what you like)

  • 1 mini bottle (187.5ml) of Sutter Home Merlot or the equivalent.

  • Salt

For the Shells and Stuffing:

  • 1lb Jumbo Pasta Shells

  • 4 cups Large Curd Cottage Cheese

  • 12oz bag of Mozzarella Cheese

  • 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

  • 1 pinch of garlic powder

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried parsley

  • The sauce listed above, or a 26oz jar of Spaghetti Sauce.

Instructions for Sauce:

1. To Make the Sauce: First place meat, onion, and garlic into a large pot and cook until meat is browned. Drain off excess liquids and fats.

2. Add in the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and heat until boiling.

3. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Instructions for Shells:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, add in the 1lb box of Jumbo Shells and cook until aldente or even a little before.

  2. Once the noodles are cooked, put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix in the cottage cheese, Mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, garlic powder, oregano, and parsley. Mix together.

  4. Take one shell and fully fill it with the cheese mixture made in Step 3. If you wish to freeze, please do so at this point.

  5. If baking immediately, then pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  6. Spread 1-2 cups of the spaghetti sauce made above, in a large baking dish, and layer the stuffed shells onto that. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy both of these recipes. It's a great make-ahead meal. Please let me know what you think if you decide to make this, and as always, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. -Heather Autumn


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