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Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta…not your average stuffed pasta shell recipe. Nope, these jumbo shells are unstuffed. Then tossed in a slightly spicy, herby, tomato sauce and served over a bed of creamy whipped ricotta. These shells are simple yet delicious! They’re also a great way to use pantry staple ingredients while still incorporating colorful spring herbs into your meal.

overhead photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta with fork in bowl

It’s Monday, but it’s a strange Monday, huh? This quarantine time feels odd. It’s scary and overwhelming, and somehow it still feels like the deep dark dead of winter…but yet the first official day of spring was actually last Thursday. I am usually very aware of the first day of spring, but I completely missed it last week, anyone else? Typically I’m dying for spring to arrive, to jump at the chance to use fresh produce, to make huge salads, and of course bake with all the spring strawberries.

This year however, well, things just feel so different. With grocery store trips very, very limited, and the produce section being so hit or miss, not all of my favorites are here for us to enjoy yet. But, I know they will come soon, so until then, we have this pasta. It’s a pantry pasta, but there’s still a taste of spring with fresh greens (say hello to plenty of kale) and a handful of fresh herbs too (hello to plenty of fresh basil)

It’s cozy pantry pasta, with a bit of a spring flare. And to be honest, it’s perfect for this time of year. The weather is still chilly and snowy here. But we have days of sunshine interspersed that feel very spring-like. Very much traditional weather.

overhead photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells in cooking pot

The inspiration…

The one thing every single one of you has asked of me during this strange time has been for pantry staple recipes that are colorful and delicious.

I LOVE a good pantry recipe just as much as you guys. In fact, I’ve actually been having a lot of fun with this “challenge” to create new pantry staple dishes. Using what I have on hand allows me to be creative in a different way than is normal for me. It allows me to look at the ingredients I have and think of new ways to incorporate them into recipes.

Enter this pasta dish. It has all the flavor and deliciousness we love about a good stuffed shell pasta recipe…but minus all the work and hassle. Instead of standing at the kitchen counter stuffing shells, this recipe completely skips that step by tossing the shells with sauce and serving them over creamy whipped ricotta.

Different – yes, difficult – no.

side angled photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta with fork in bowl

All the unstuffed spicy tomato basil shell details…

This recipe requires very little prep work and almost no chopping, so it comes together quickly.

You’ll want to first boil off the jumbo pasta shells, then just before draining reserve some of the pasta cooking water. This step is crucial, so please make sure not to dump the water before scooping some out. The pasta water will be used for creating a creamy sauce later.

Next, the tomato sauce. I kept this very simple, using canned tomato paste, tomatoes, dried oregano, and thyme. I did add a special ingredient…spicy Italian chicken sausage, it adds a lot of flavor and spiciness.

But, if you’re vegetarian or just going for a meatless Monday theme, you can easily omit the sausage from the sauce. I’ve given directions on how to do so at the end of the recipe. I just recommend adding some additional dried herbs, spices, and a touch more crushed red pepper flakes. This will keep the sauce flavorful and on the spicy side.

With or without the sausage it’s going to be great, so do what works best for you.

overhead close up photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta

The key to this spicy tomato basil sauce?

The tomato paste. It adds so much depth and flavor without having to leave the sauce to simmer all day long. It’s my “secret” ingredient.

Other important steps include caramelizing the shallots, tossing in fresh greens, and mixing up a quick herby sauce with fresh springtime basil and lemon. The lemon helps to lighten and brighten this pasta up.

overhead photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta

Now, onto the whipped ricotta.

The ricotta is the “extra special” finishing touch.

Not necessarily needed, but one hundred percent DELICIOUS. If you’re new to whipped ricotta, it’s just what it sounds like, ricotta cheese that’s been whipped in the food processor. It’s creamy, light, and airy, and makes for the BEST base for pasta of any kind. Especially an unstuffed pasta shell. It completes the recipe…well, at least if you ask me.

And you guys, that’s it. This is a cozy pasta dinner made in just about thirty minutes using mostly pantry staples with just a couple of fresh ingredients…and only if you have them.

Perfect for a quarantined Monday night. Just add a side of crusty bread plus your favorite glass of wine…because really anything goes right now, and why not, you know?

Looking for another pantry pasta option…try this Quick Pantry Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Burrata.

overhead photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta with fork in bowl

If you make these unstuffed spicy tomato basil shells and whipped ricotta, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 468 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1 pound jumbo pasta shells
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 1 tbs fresh oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (or 1 tbs fresh thyme)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped greens, such as kale, spinach, or chard
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, whipped in the food processor, if desired


  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken sausage and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, garlic, oregano, thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cook 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, 1 cup pasta cooking water, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the greens, stirring until wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
    3. Add the pasta shells and 1/2 cup basil, tossing to combine. If needed, thin the sauce with additional pasta cooking water.
    4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the remaining 1/2 cup basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
    5. Spread the ricotta cheese into the bottom of each pasta bowl. Spoon the shells and sauce over the ricotta. Drizzle the basil lemon sauce overtop. Serve and enjoy!


To Make Vegetarian: omit the sausage and instead, when you add the shallots, also add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

overhead close up photo of Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells with Whipped Ricotta

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    1. Hey Kate,
      Wonderful! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try. Happy Weekend! xTieghan

    1. Hey Kathleen,
      Happy Sunday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xxTieghan

  1. 4 stars
    It was very delicious. The sauce was has a sweetness due to the shallots, which was not typical of pasta sauce. I am going to try it next with Italian hot pork sausage.

    1. Hey Emma,
      Happy Monday! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed!! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Prepared this for dinner tonight. It was excellent. Very easy to prepare and the directions were very clear. Quick to put together, it was a hit in my Family!

    1. Hey Carol,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am delighted that it was enjoyed! Have a fantastic week! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Finally made this recipe I had saved a year ago during the “2 week covid break” and it did not disappoint! Easy to follow recipe and delightful flavors. Next time I might add some garlic to the ricotta because we love garlic at our house. Large quantity so I saved 1/2 the sauce before mixing the noodles for another dinner next week.

  4. 5 stars
    YUM! My 17 year old daughter told me this was the BEST dish I have EVER made!!! Major score! Thank you! I will definitely be trying more of your recipes! 🙂

    (So glad I heard about you from Daryl Ann Denner and Lisa Fletcher on Instagram!)

    1. Hey Kelly,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Make this !!!! It’s so delicious. I never comment but this needed it ! I actually used two lbs of hot Turkey sausage (protein fiends) and added a bit more tomato sauce to compensate. It was amazing !

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Thanks! I like to serve the ricotta at room temp and then the hot pasta should warm it through. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

    1. Hey Jennie,
      Yes, that will work well for you! I hope you enjoy the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  6. Thank you for something different and delicious, really needed this. It’s a year later and still very welcomed and enjoyed, great flavor and creaminess. This is a keeper for sure.

  7. 5 stars
    Yummmm! We loved this one. The whipped ricotta is the best addition. It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and makes it so delightfully creamy. The store was out of large shells and chicken sausage, so we used rigatoni and spicy pork sausage and it still turned out perfectly.

    1. Hey Emma,
      Awesome, I love to hear that the recipe was enjoyed and thanks so much for giving it a try! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Made the vegetarian version- the balancing of flavours was delicious!! Great pasta. Didnt have normal ricotta but had smoked ricotta which worked perfectly.

    1. Hey Penny,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  9. This was delicious! So satisfying. I’m Italian and didn’t realize how much better whipped ricotta is! The lemon basil oil on top was the perfect finish and gave it a bit of freshness!

    1. Hey Sara,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Amazing, thank you so much! I got ricotta from Trader Joe’s and it tasted light as a feather as if it was already whipped so I skipped that. Used red swiss chard. This is going into my rotation.

    1. Hey Jackie,
      I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  11. How does one whip ricotta? I saw you used a food processor but any extra tips here? I want to make this for my in-laws tomorrow night for our first post-vaccine dinner! We haven’t had them over in over a year! I know she will love this!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Yes, I just whip mine in the food processor. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    Such an easy and perfect Friday night dinner option for us! Loved everything about this dish…the lemony basil drizzle is amazing!

    1. Hey Mandy,
      Thanks a lot for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that the recipe was enjoyed! Have a fantastic weekend! xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    Another great dinner- thank you! I subbed the fresh basil with dry because I didn’t want to go to the store & it was still delicious. Loved the ricotta to balance the spice – don’t skip!

  14. This… like many of your other recipes came out so good. The whole family enjoyed including my husband who does not like lasagna with the ricotta cheese (who doesn’t love lasagna?!?). But the lemon basil oil with the whipped ricotta was a hit. I could not find jumbo shells so used large. But very tasty!
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

    1. Hey Danielle,
      You just whip in a food processor. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  15. Hi! This looks so good! Any suggestions on how I could make ahead to bring over to new parents? Do you think this could be frozen and then heated?

    1. Hey Kate,
      I would go ahead and make the sauce and freeze that and then just send over a fresh box of pasta. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  16. 5 stars
    I made a vegan Beeson with plant based sausage crumbles and cashew ricotta and a meat eater version with pork sausage and ricotta. Everyone loved it! Thank you for he easy and delicious recipe.

  17. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight and it was amazing! My boyfriend doesn’t enjoy red sauce very much but he absolutely loved this one. We added mushrooms to the sauce and we didn’t have fresh basil so we used dried instead. Turned out great!

    1. Hey Taylor,
      Thanks so much for trying the recipe. That is so great the recipe was enjoyed! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  18. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner and I loved it! I ended up using 1 lb spicy turkey sausage and 28oz of crushed tomatoes since that’s what I had on hand. Instead of ricotta I used cottage cheese and whipped it in the food processor. It definitely put the dish over the top. I can’t wait to make this recipe for family and friends.

  19. 5 stars
    This dish as become a go-to during this stay at home year! We usually go with a fettuccini or spaghetti for the noodles and either pork sausage or ground beef for the meat. On nights when we have less time, we forego the basil lemon sauce and it’s still just as delicious.

  20. I love your recipes but you literally have zero concept of time. This recipe said 10 minutes to prep and 20 to cook. It easily took me over an hour and I’m fairly adept in the kitchen.

    1. Hey Debby,
      So sorry this took you longer than anticipated. Please let me know if I can help in anyway. Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  21. A beautiful snowy morning today on the front range. Every time I click on a Pinterest post, it seems to be a recipe from your site. Who knew we would still be stay at home comfort/pantry cooking? Can’t wait to try this dinner. It seems easy, so I can focus my efforts on baking. Learning gluten free this year, for a family member. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  22. The whipped ricotta was fantastic! I used half the shells and still loved it and it made a ton! This is a great recipe and one I will be making many more time.

  23. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh. This was soooo good. I feel like my reviews are so repetitive because I say that for every recipe but it’s just the truth. I’ve never had “unstuffed” shells before but I really like the deconstructed version and the added spiciness was so good.

  24. 5 stars
    The vegetarian version of this red sauce is simply magnificent. I loved the lemon-basil addition, but I think next time I’ll put the zest in the whipped ricotta and omit the olive oil portion, just to keep it more subtle to let the red sauce shine.

  25. 5 stars
    This has become a repeat recipe at my house. It’s so, so elegant with the smeared whipped ricotta and the lemon-basil-olive oil dropped on top and yet it is extremely easy to make. I’ve done it with both chicken sausage and regular sausage and we personally think the regular sausage has more flavor but either work! Overall great recipe.

  26. Really great recipe, regret using shells. The We really didn’t like having it with the shells. We will make it again, but would recommend a different type of pasta

  27. 4 stars
    Takes a lot longer to put together than 30 minutes. But worth it. I was unsure how the lemon basil oil would work with the flavors in the pasta sauce but it really brightened it up. And the ricotta added a nice delicate creaminess. Each element works so perfectly together. Husband and I both loved it.

  28. Made this for a vegan, and meat lovers. Cooked the shallot, garlic, and spices in oil, then added mushrooms, the tomato, and greens. Then separated the vegan sauce out, and then added the cooked sausage for the meat eaters. Everyone was happen- and it was a very easy adjustment to accommodate the vegan! Will absolutely make again!

  29. We’ve made this twice already and will make it again tonight! This pasta is out of this world delicious!!! The lemon basil drizzle and whipped ricotta really put it over the top so don’t skip this part. It’s worth the extra steps!

  30. this looks so good. i have a question for the vegetarian version. Can i add any of the following instead of the meat sausages
    -crumbled veg sausages? or will that kill the flavour as veg sausages don’t taste like meat.
    -cooked soy granules
    -I have some minced pumpkin at home, can i add a bit of it?

    1. Hi Devyani,
      Any of these options would be great! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  31. 5 stars
    so darn good! i normally add liquid smoke to my sauce and i didnt and this was delish!!! your my fav 🙂

  32. 5 stars
    Made these for dinner, so delicious, really great! I just cut back a bit on the pasta shells, as I love lots and lots of sauce. It was enough for two days for two people, so definitely perfect for four hungry people.

  33. 5 stars
    I made this last night. Excellent flavor! Interesting concept, too. Took me way longer than 30 min. to prep and cook as I have no help. Maybe my age. lol. Also, we couldn’t find a one lb. box of jumbo shells during the pandemic, so we got two boxes and I removed 8 from the second box to come up with a lb. total. Also, I think my front range electric burner was suddenly misbehaving. My shells would’t come to back to a boil, much less a simmer. I followed package directing to cook 12 min (Barilla). Eventually, I had to switch to the large back burner to finish browning the meat. I couldn’t find chicken sausage, so I planned to thaw and use about 9 oz. of sausage I had in my freezer, and just remove the casing. It was prob. pork and I noted the odd fennel seed in it. Anyway, needed to chop that, too. Loved the lemon olive oil dressing on the dish – very different! Happy for the leftovers tonight. I noticed that I couldn’t find how many this recipe served, and I’m venturing an opinion — 4 adults. I was wondering what I would do with all that left over ricotta (for 2) as we couldn’t find a smaller container, but we used the entire 1 cup between the two of us last night. So, as re. the leftovers, I think we’ll just use up some more of that ricotta. My husband and I both thought that this was an excellent dish. It will be added to the “repertoire”, so to speak. Thank you!

    1. Sounds amazing!! I am really glad this turned out so well for you, B. Thank you for trying it! xTieghan

  34. I’m in love with so many of these recipes!! I’m making these unstuffed shells tonight and cannot wait!

  35. 5 stars
    Since my wife is vegetarian, I finely diced some mushrooms in place of the sausage an it worked great. I also added some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the ricotta. This recipe is delicious! Thanks!

  36. I can’t find spicy italian chicken sausage…only regular italian sausage. Should I add extra red pepper flakes?

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Yes you can do that! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  37. 5 stars
    Tieghan, this is truly restaurant quality and the blend of flavors with the lemon basil oil at the end adds just the right amount of brightness! Love the chunky pasta the large shells add to the whole aesthetic of the meal. A nice change from other forms of pasta! I live in Little Italy in Cleveland and feel this recipe could easily be on any menu here! But so easy to impress guests with this recipe instead of going out! I can’t wait to make your polenta and scallops recipe next!

  38. Tieghan, I just devoured this dish and feel it is worthy of any restaurant menu! I made the sauce last night and tonight made enough shells for myself and whipped the ricotta as recommended. The presentation is restaurant quality and tastes even better knowing you made it yourself with little effort. The drizzle of lemon basil oil was the icing on the cake! It provided some brightness to a somewhat heavy meal. Next I want to try your polenta and scallops recipe! I live in Little Italy in Cleveland and feel this would be a delightful meal to serve guests instead of going to one of the restaurants here! Can’t wait to have it again tomorrow!

    1. Hi Dina! I am so glad you enjoyed this one and I hope you LOVE the scallops! Also, Little Italy is such a cute neighborhood and this really is the perfect dish for guests! Thank you so much! xTieghan

  39. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was soooo delicious and easy! I used elbow macaroni because I wanted to use up what was in the pantry but was still great! The lemon basil oil is a fantastic touch!

  40. 5 stars
    We loved this! I had to use dried basil because fresh basil and basil plants are hard to find in my area due to pandemic shortages and it turned out great. I grow my own basil, but the seedlings are still very tiny. Looking forward to making this with fresh basil soon!

    1. I am really glad you loved this one Marla! I hope you love it even more with some fresh basil! xTieghan

  41. 5 stars
    I normally don’t leave reviews but I just had to for this recipe. I made this for my mom for Mother’s Day and OMG this was ridiculously good. There are literally no words to describe how amazing this dish is. The whipped ricotta was so creamy and delicious. The oil with basil and lemon made the entire dish over the top. This was the best idea you could’ve had during this pandemic. I’m so thankful to have found this recipe. It will definitely be in the rotation at my house.

    1. Aw that is so great to hear! I am glad you found this one and you are loving it! Thank you so much Mariko! xTieghan

  42. I just love this recipe so much. I’ve made it three times now. I am a fan of any pasta with Italian sausage, but serving over the whipped ricotta and the lemon basil oil drizzle at the end makes this dish really stand out from your average pasta with sausage. I’ve used the shells as the recipe instructed, and I’ve also made this with rotini and even long pasta. Delicious every time! Thanks for all your creative recipes! They have made this quarantine fun for me. I’ve been pretty much only cooking HBH recipes for a month now.

    1. Hi Claire! I am so glad you have been loving this recipe! Thank you so much for trying it! xTieghan

  43. 5 stars
    I made this, and boy was it delicious! A true favorite for my family! It got a spot in my recipe binder! 😊thank you Tieghan, you are amazing!

  44. 5 stars
    This recipe is RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS. I’m not the biggest stuffed shells fan in the world, but i would be if it was always served like this!
    I added salt to the whipped ricotta, and the leftover lemon basil drizzle went on anything I could find – its phenomenal.

  45. 5 stars
    Let me start with OMG…. Made this recipe this evening “UnStuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells w/ Whipped Ricotta….

    Replaced a couple of ingredients: Couldn’t find spicy ground chicken… replaced with ground turkey, and to get the spicy added one Serrano pepper and a bit of Cayenne… Greens used a blend of Baby Spinach & Arugula

  46. 5 stars
    This was such a hit for the family and will be a staple recipe for us! Didn’t have crushed tomatoes so I used diced and it worked well. Love the integration of the greens at the end and the flexibility to use what you have or prefer. During this time, was a wonderful way to be creative with the pasta we have! Thank you.

  47. This was so fantastic! Adults loved it, the kids loved it. I made the vegetarian version with the spices I had (so Hungarian paprika, onion powder, and a little ground mustard). Will absolutely make this again, thanks!

  48. 4 stars
    Hi Tiegen,

    Made this last night after my daughter dropped off a “garden vegetable box” from a local restaurant and it had kale in it. I have never cooked kale before so I went looking for what to do with it. This turned out great. I might swap out the kale in the future for spinach but this is a keeper of a recipe.


  49. 5 stars
    This was so so yummy. Husband said this was his favorite HBH recipe yet! Used all fresh herbs, spinach, a pound of Italian sausage, and rigatoni. Winner winner!

  50. 5 stars
    Every night I have tried a different recipe…this was tonight’s dinner! Happy family…again. I can NOT say enough about these recipes…I have not found this much success since Barefoot Contessa. Looking forward to tomorrow’s choice😄

    1. Haha these were so amazing to read! Thank you for trying so many! I am so happy they have all turned out so well for you, ELizabeth!! xTieghan

  51. 5 stars
    This recipe is DELICIOUS!! We didn’t have jumbo shells so we used Fusilli noodles and it was still amazing. The citrusy punch from the lemon zest + the spicy punch from the red peppers + the rich flavour from the sausage creates the most wonderful well-rounded bite. I am in love with her cookbooks / recipes, and this one definitely made it to the top of my list <3

    1. Aw that is so amazing to hear! I hope you continue to love all of the recipes you try, Dani! Thank you so much! xTieghan

  52. 5 stars
    Super simple and easy to make. Being quarantined we weren’t able to get ricotta but substituted feta with 4oz of cream cheese. I was a little worried because it was so salty but paired Perfectly and absolutely balanced out beautifully with the sauce! Everyone loved the dish!

  53. This looks so good!! I am lactose intolerant. Do you think this recipe could be made with the lactose free Buf Creamery ricotta cheese? Any recommendations, if so? TIA!

    1. Hi Savanna,
      Yes that would totally work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Thank you Therissa! I am really glad this was so good! I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes! xTieghan

  54. 5 stars
    It snowed today! Great day for pasta. This took way longer than 30 minutes to make but it was worth every minute. I whipped the ricotta in the cuisinart and it was light and fluffy. I made the vegetarian version, had everything except fennel seeds and the sauce was nice and thick. A dollop of ricotta with the shells piled on top and a nice drizzle of the lemon basil oil to tie it all together, mmmmm delicious

    1. Perfect day for pasta! I am really glad this recipe turned out so well for you, Elayne! Thank you so much for trying it! xTieghan

    1. Hi Bari,
      You could totally use ground beef in place of the sausage! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  55. 5 stars
    This was so good! Would highly recommend it. Everyone loved it, my 3 yr old included. I subbed torn spinach for the greens because that was all I had and it still turned out wonderfully! Thank you!

  56. 5 stars
    So yummy! Only thing I did differently was I used Conchiglie pasta because the store didn’t have jumbo shells.

  57. 5 stars
    Delicious! And easy. What I really like about this dish is how much flavor it has. And I felt nice and full after. I’m a meat lover, so I added more sausage. Will be making this again and again. Thanks, Tieghan!

  58. 5 stars
    Just made this last night and it was amazing! The lemon basil olive oil really is such a great touch! Will definitely be making again! Thank you!

  59. 5 stars
    Wow. Some recipes come out so delicious that they make me pause and close my eyes after the first bite and this is definitely one of them. Tieghan took this delicious unstuffed pasta dish and elevated it with the whipped ricotta and the lemon basil olive oil sauce (don’t skip this, it takes the dish to another level). Another 5 star winner for me.

  60. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. I made this for my husband and me, and it is seriously one of our new favorite recipes! My mom introduced me to your site, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. We made the crispy rice bowls and the aforementioned recipe last week, and this week we are trying the better than takeout pad thai! Thank you for all of your delicious, beautiful, and simple recipes!

    1. Hi Libby! I am so glad you both loved this recipe and I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes! Thank you so much! Stay well! xTieghan

  61. 5 stars
    This is a tasty recipe. Would be great with some grated good quality parmigiano on top. The whipped ricotta is a great accompaniment!

  62. 5 stars
    I made this tonight, and it was incredible! So quick and easy! I used hot Italian sausage (all I had!) and a mixture of fresh and dried basil. So simple, so amazing! I did use a 28oz can of the tomatoes (all I had in stock!) and It was perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by the whipped ricotta, I didn’t think the lemon and basil would be good – but boy was I wrong! It was delicious!!! I made an entire 2lb container – so I am planning on freezing the leftovers (hopefully that works, any suggestions welcome) Thank you so much, this recipe is definitely a keeper – and will make even the most novice chef look like a PRO! Thank you so much!!!
    Stay safe everyone, here’s to trying fun new recipes as we all social distance! Kristen

  63. 5 stars
    This recipe is super bomb!! Very hearty and flavorful. I substituted the chicken sausage for Field Roast Italian sausage and it was great! I love this recipe because recently most pasta is not available at our stores, but I was able to find these giant shells 🙂 thanks for another great recipe Tieghan!

    1. Amazing! Thank you so much for trying this Megan! I am glad it turned out so well for you! xTieghan

  64. This was amazing! The lemon basil dressing just brightened the whole thing up and I loved every bite. I made it for dinner tonight (cut it in half because I am one person..) and still managed to the eat the whole thing. Another amazing recipe.

  65. 5 stars
    Another A++ HBH recipe. We made this for dinner last night and had the leftovers tonight. So delicious! The whipped ricotta is a must, and the lemon basil is incredible. For the greens, we used kale. We cut the pasta in half(ish) – just over half a pound – and did a pound of ground chicken sausage, which was perfect for four adult-sized servings. This will definitely be in regular rotation!

  66. 5 stars
    This was SO. GOOD. OMG! Even my husband was obsessed, and he eats like a fussy five-year-old. Good thing he’s cute. Thank you for this awesome, recipe, Tieghan! Now there’s always something I know I can make that he won’t spit out.

    1. Thank you so much Marie! I am so glad this recipe turned out so well for you! I hope you are staying well! xTieghan

  67. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved this pasta! I am gluten free and I couldn’t find gluten free jumbo shells so I ended up using fetuccine pasta but it turned out perfectly! And I made the vegetarian version of the recipe too! I have never thought to put fennel in my pasta but it was phenomenal!! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  68. 4 stars
    Very tasty. A few comments: 1) Jumbo shells are difficult for young children to eat so choose something like rigatoni if you don’t want your 3-year-old destroying her clothes. 2) Make sure to put the pasta water on to boil immediately at the start. Like before you even start getting the rest of the ingredients out of the pantry. My pasta took forever to boil and I ended up in a bottleneck waiting for the pasta water needed to complete the sauce. 3) I used kale and it took a good 5-10 minutes of simmering to soften up, so plan accordingly. 4) Adding an oil-based sauce on top of the pasta sounded like overkill so I skipped that. Instead, I added the basil and lemon (and some salt) to the ricotta and whipped it together. It was divine. 5) The recipe says it takes 30 minutes but it took me nearly an hour, mostly due to the pasta cooking time and softening the kale. I might not make this recipe again except the lemon basil ricotta. It was truly delish and even my ricotta-hating husband loved it.

  69. This literally got, “You can make this as often as you want” from everyone in my household 🙂 whipped ricotta is kinda my new thing now lol

  70. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe! Almost all of the pasta in my grocery store was gone so I used some broken up lasanga noodles instead of shells so it would have a deconstructed-lasanga vibe and it was amazing. Hopefully when this craziness is all over I’ll be able to find shells and have it again. Thanks for another creative pasta recipe!

    1. Wow love the creativity! Also, sounds so good! Thank you so much for trying this, so glad you enjoyed it! xTieghan

  71. 5 stars
    We made this last night and it was delicious! We skipped the sausage and found the spices were perfect. I love fennel seed. The whipped ricotta made the dish even better but if you don’t have ricotta, the pasta is still super yummy alone. Thank you for another amazing, easy recipe.

  72. Hi! I want to make this tonight but cannot find jumbo pasta shells.

    Any other pasta recommendations for this?

  73. This looks so good! I might have to serve over whipped cream cheese, as daughter doesn’t like ricotta! Xx

    1. HI! You can use whatever cheese you have on hand. Mozzarella or provolone would be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  74. 5 stars
    So good and cozy! This was perfect for a chilly, rainy evening. I left out the ricotta part (none in the house), and I doubled the crushed tomatoes (I had the larger jar) for more sauce. It was delicious!

  75. I can’t wait to try this one. Housebound in NY and I don’t have fresh basil. Can I substitute dried basil? If so, how much?

    1. HI! Yes, dried basil will be great!! I would use 1/4 cup. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  76. I only have arugula, since I cannot go to the store, you think that will work? I know it’s a much stronger flavor… thanks and be safe!

    1. HI! Yes! Arugula will be great. love that idea! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  77. 5 stars
    What happens with the greens? And in step 3 should I use just 1/2c of basil and reserve the other 1/2c for the oil?

    1. HI! The kale is added in step 2 and stirred into the sauce. Yes, the is correct regarding the basil. recipe all fixed. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

    1. HI! The kale is added in step 2 and stirred into the sauce. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  78. 5 stars
    I’m a big fan of all of your recipes! This looks great and I can’t wait to make it! Quick question, early on in the post you mention that it has a lot of kale – is that added to the sauce?

    1. Hi! Yes, the kale is added towards the end of cooking step 2. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  79. Yup!…I have everything except the ricotta ;-( BUT I’m going to do this one this week…it will be a nice surprise for my overworked husband. Be well everyone.

  80. 5 stars
    Great pantry pasta. Shells have always been a favorite of mine. Spring? Snowing outside here ?. It really feels weird in general outside. Kinda of creepy. And news, well it’s all bad for the most part. Good day for pasta!