How to Make Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells

Combine the best of Italian and Mexican cuisine with “Fiesta in a Dish: Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells.” These jumbo pasta shells are filled with a savory, spiced beef and cheese mixture, then baked to perfection with a zesty enchilada sauce. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or when you want to add a flavorful twist to your pasta night, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Why You’ll Love Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells:

  • Flavor Fusion: Combines the comfort of pasta with bold Mexican flavors.
  • Hearty and Filling: A satisfying meal packed with beef, cheese, and spices.
  • Easy to Make: Simple ingredients and straightforward preparation.
  • Great for Leftovers: Reheats well for an easy next-day meal.

Ingredients Notes For Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells:

  • Jumbo Pasta Shells: Cooked al dente.
  • Ground Beef: Lean ground beef, or substitute with ground turkey or chicken.
  • Onion: Finely chopped for added flavor.
  • Garlic: Minced for an aromatic boost.
  • Taco Seasoning: Store-bought or homemade.
  • Cream Cheese: Adds creaminess to the filling.
  • Cheese: Shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend.
  • Enchilada Sauce: Red or green, homemade or store-bought.
  • Green Chilies: Canned, diced green chilies for extra flavor and heat.
  • Black Beans: Optional, for added protein and texture.
  • Corn: Optional, for sweetness and crunch.
  • Cilantro: Chopped, for garnish.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

 

 

Recipe Steps:

  1. Cook the Pasta Shells:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 20-25 jumbo pasta shells and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 1 pound of ground beef until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add 1 finely chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
    • Stir in 1 packet (or 2 tablespoons) of taco seasoning, 1 can (4 ounces) of diced green chilies, and 1/2 cup of black beans and/or corn if using. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 4 ounces of cream cheese until melted and well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Assemble the Shells:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.
    • Stuff each pasta shell with the beef mixture and place them in the baking dish, open side up. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese over the top.
  4. Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
  • Freeze: Assemble the stuffed shells without baking, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

 

How to Make Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells

These jumbo pasta shells are filled with a savory, spiced beef and cheese mixture, then baked to perfection with a zesty enchilada sauce. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or when you want to add a flavorful twist to your pasta night, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
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Ingredients

  • For the Shells:
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels fresh, canned, or frozen
  • 1 can 10 oz diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 can 24 oz enchilada sauce
  • 1 can 15 oz tomato sauce
  • For Topping:
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro optional
  • Sliced green onions optional
  • Sour cream optional
  • Sliced black olives optional
  • Diced avocado optional

Instructions

  • Cook the Pasta Shells:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the jumbo pasta shells and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Filling:
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the taco seasoning, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses until melted and well combined.
  • Prepare the Sauce:
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce.
  • Assemble the Shells:
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Spread a thin layer of the sauce mixture on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Fill each cooked pasta shell with the beef mixture and place them in the baking dish, open side up.
  • Bake:
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed shells.
  • Sprinkle the additional shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses over the top.
  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve:
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, sour cream, sliced black olives, and diced avocado, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

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