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Olive Backyard Big Cheese Stuffed Shells

The luscious cheese filling and wealthy marinara and alfredo sauces hold some coming again to Olive Backyard repeatedly for his or her beloved big stuffed shells. However this easy recipe makes it simple to get pleasure from at dwelling.

homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.

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Big Cheese Stuffed Shells 

There’s little doubt Olive Backyard is without doubt one of the go-to spots for many individuals craving a deliciously filling Italian meal. However whereas the infinite pasta, soups, salads, and breadsticks could get a number of consideration, one of many actual stars of the menu is the chain’s Big Stuffed Pasta Shells.

Whereas they might look intimidating, it’s surprisingly easy to make this delicacy proper in your personal kitchen. It’s nice for busy weeknights or whenever you desire a comforting pasta dish for dinner.

What makes the Olive Backyard Stuffed Shells so good?

Big stuffed shells take lots of the greatest elements of Italian pasta dishes and supersize them. Which means extra creamy, flavorful cheese filling, extra tender pasta shells, and extra wealthy, completely seasoned marinara sauce and creamy alfredo sauce to decorate all of it with.

It’s additionally completely meatless, making it a superb selection for vegetarians or these reducing again on their meat consumption (with out feeling such as you’re lacking out).

Why that is the very best copycat Olive Backyard Stuffed Shells recipe

Whereas there are a number of parts to creating excellent Olive Backyard big pasta shells, this recipe breaks them down into easy parts, permitting even newbie cooks to construct a masterpiece out of humble elements. As well as, the usage of premade marinara removes the effort of creating your personal sauce. 


Right here’s what you’ll want to provide the massive flavors and hearty sustenance of this basic dish. You will discover all of them at common grocery shops.

  • Common or Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • Butter
  • Jumbo shells
  • Full-fat ricotta cheese
  • Italian mix shredded cheese
  • Egg
  • Marinara sauce
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Recent parsley
Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells ingredients on a tray.Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient substitutions and recipe variations

For those who don’t have a few of the substances available or wish to change issues up a bit, attempt these useful substitutions:

  • Change out the shells for manicotti as an alternative. Filling any sort of cooked pasta is a ton of labor.
  • Add spinach. Thaw some frozen chopped spinach, drain it, and squeeze out the liquid. Stir in about ½ cup into the ricotta filling.
  • Love garlic? Add a few finely chopped garlic cloves or some garlic powder to the alfredo sauce or marinara sauce.
  • Make issues simpler through the use of lasagna noodles as an alternative! To make, boil the lasagna noodles in response to the package deal or go for no-boil lasagna noodles to avoid wasting a step. Assemble the dish by coating the underside of a 13 x 9 baking pan with a layer of marinara sauce to maintain the noodles from sticking. Lay down a layer of lasagna noodles, then unfold the cheese combination on prime and canopy the cheese with the remainder of the noodles. Pour the Alfredo sauce over the noodles and bake within the oven as directed.
  • Add just a little little bit of meat. Serve just a few meatballs or sliced Italian sausages alongside these Olive Backyard Stuffed Shells for additional protein and an entire lot of taste! You can too use a meat sauce with floor beef or Italian sausage as an alternative of marinara sauce to combine it instantly into your meal. 

The best way to Make Olive Backyard Big Cheese Stuffed Shells

Don’t be delay by the variety of steps right here — the ultimate result’s greater than well worth the effort:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Soften the butter and pour it over the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Stir to mix. 
  3. Unfold the buttered breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake till they start to brown, about six minutes. Put aside to chill.
toasted buttered bread crumbs on a baking sheet.toasted buttered bread crumbs on a baking sheet.
  1. Prepare dinner shells as directed on the package deal. Drain and put aside to chill.
  2. In the meantime, heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium-low warmth.
  3. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Mix ricotta cheese and Italian cheese mix with the whisked egg. Put aside.
  4. Add the butter and cream to a small pan or skillet and warmth over medium-high. When it begins to bubble, add the parmesan and stir till the cheese has melted. Cut back the warmth to medium-low and simmer. Style and season with black pepper if desired.
  5. Stuff 15 cooled shells with the ricotta filling. 
  6. Put together an oven-safe pie plate, baking dish, or pasta bowl by pouring a cup of marinara sauce onto the underside.
marinara sauce in a pie plate.marinara sauce in a pie plate.
  1. Pour alfredo sauce over the shells till partially coated.
  2. Bake at 350°F till the shells are heated to 160°F, about 20 minutes.
  3. Garnish with a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, basil, or oregano.
a bowl of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.a bowl of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.

The best way to serve Big Cheese Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells are undoubtedly among the many most filling and substantial pasta dishes you’ll discover. They work effectively as a foremost course when serving a number of shells per individual, whereas a single shell or two could be a excellent pasta dish for a multi-course Italian feast. 

What goes effectively with them

The richness of the tacky filling and tomato-heavy sauce that make up stuffed shells are ideally complemented with a contemporary companion. This will embody a home salad with a herby French dressing or veggies like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and extra. Or, tuck right into a carb-lover’s paradise with a serving of garlic bread or Italian breadsticks

Don’t neglect a scrumptious beverage to spherical out your meal. Purple or white wine go effectively with pasta, although a hoppy IPA additionally works with this dish. For non-alcoholic choices, glowing water or seltzer is a superb selection. 

The best way to Retailer and Reheat

Like most pasta dishes, Olive Backyard big stuffed shells are greatest loved contemporary. Nevertheless, the leftovers will hold within the fridge for a number of days when saved correctly. Enable them to succeed in room temperature, then retailer them in an hermetic container or cowl the dish with aluminum foil. Reheat them in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes or till heat. Nevertheless, they nonetheless typically gained’t regain the identical texture as contemporary.

For longer-term, higher-quality storage, attempt freezing the unbaked, unsauced shells in a single layer on a parchment-lined tray. They’ll keep at the very best quality for as much as two months. Merely defrost within the fridge, assemble, and bake to get pleasure from a fast, scrumptious meal. 

overhead view of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.overhead view of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.

Extra Olive Backyard copycat recipes

Favourite Italian recipes

Take a look at extra of my simple Italian recipes and the very best Olive Backyard pasta recipes right here on CopyKat!

homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.

Olive Backyard Big Cheese Stuffed Shells

You may make Olive Backyard Big Cheese Stuffed Shells at dwelling with this simple copycat recipe.

Add to Assortment

Course: Principal Course

Delicacies: Italian

Key phrase: Cheese Stuffed Pasta, Cheese Stuffed Shells, Olive Backyard Recipes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Prepare dinner Time: 45 minutes

Complete Time: 1 hour

Servings: 3

Energy: 1158kcal


Toasted Breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Pasta Filling

  • 2 cups full fats ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Italian mix shredded cheese
  • 1 egg

Alfredo Sauce

  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese


  • 2 teaspoons chopped contemporary parsley


Toasted Breadcrumbs

  • Soften 2 teaspoons of butter within the microwave. Pour the melted butter over ¼ cup of breadcrumbs. Stir to mix.

  • Unfold out the buttered breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and place within the sizzling oven for about 6 to eight minutes or till the breadcrumbs start to brown.

  • Take away the breadcrumbs from the oven. Place the browned breadcrumbs in a small dish.

Alfredo Sauce

  • Place 3 ounces of butter, and three ounces of heavy cream in a small pot over medium-high warmth.

  • When the cream begins to bubble, add the parmesan and stir till the cheese has melted. Cut back the warmth to low and simmer the combination.

To Assemble the Dish

  • Stuff 15 shells with ricotta cheese filling.

  • Pour 1 cup of sauce into the underside of three pasta bowls or pie plates.

  • Lay 5 stuffed shells on prime of the marinara sauce in every of the bowls.

  • Pour simply sufficient alfredo sauce over the shells to partially cowl them.

  • Place the bowls or pie plates within the oven till the shells are heated by means of, about 20 minutes.

  • Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and chopped contemporary parsley.


You could wish to cook dinner additional pasta shells simply in case any break whereas stuffing them.


Energy: 1158kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 50g | Fats: 83g | Saturated Fats: 51g | Polyunsaturated Fats: 4g | Monounsaturated Fats: 23g | Trans Fats: 1g | Ldl cholesterol: 319mg | Sodium: 2349mg | Potassium: 1153mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3635IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 995mg | Iron: 5mg

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