Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe

Olive Garden is famous for its Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells, these are essentially giant pasta shells that are exploding with a delicious ricotta cheese filling served on top of marinara sauce, which is then topped with toasty, buttery breadcrumbs.

This is a fantastic Italian-inspired dish that is guaranteed to fill you up, which is why it’s such a popular choice for Olive Garden patrons.

So today we’re going to show you how to make this dish yourself, exactly how Olive Garden does it. Just make sure you cook enough as people are sure to want more!

How to make Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

For this recipe, we’ll be using a good selection of cheeses, sauces, and herbs to make this larger than life Italian inspired meal.

It’s nice and easy to make and should only take around 40 minutes in total to cook.

Olive Garden has introduced this in the past as a limited-time event meal, but once you have learned the process you’ll be able to make Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells at home anytime you wish!

Ingredients:

(4 servings)

  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (or alternatively you can half and half the mozzarella with provolone)
  • 15oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 15oz of marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

For the Alfredo sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • ¾ cup of half and half milk
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup of mozzarella and provolone cheese (shredded)

Instructions:

Sometimes those giant stuffed shells can be hard to source, so as you’re gathering ingredients do check below for the suggested substitutions as there are plenty of other options available.

It’s very important that we cook the pasta al dente in order to ensure they hold their shape. We must also drain them adequately so they aren’t watery. Follow along and we explain how to make it perfectly!

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 2: 

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta shells following the directions on the packet.

This can be different from brand to brand but usually requires 10-12 minutes of cooking with perhaps a little added salt.

Step 3: 

In a bowl, add the ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses along with parmesan, basil, oregano, and garlic. Mix everything together thoroughly.

Step 4:

Rinse the pasta shells with cool water and make sure there’s no water collecting inside them.

Step 5:

Spray a pan with nonstick spray and add 1 cup of marinara to the bottom of it.

Step 6:

Now we take the filling we mixed earlier and stuff the pasta shells with 2 tablespoons of the filling per shell. You can also use your fingers as a spoon if you feel you can gauge the amount better.

Step 7:

Place the shells on top of the marinara sauce, and cover will aluminum foil.

Step 8:

Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F.

Step 9:

While that’s cooking, we can take a skillet and melt the tablespoon of butter in it. To this we then add the breadcrumbs, keep stirring until the crumbs turn a nice toasty brown color and move them to a separate bowl.

Step 10:

In the same skillet melt 6 more tablespoons of butter and add the garlic which we will saute for 1 minute.

Step 11: 

To the sauteed garlic, we now add the half and half and both the mozzarella and parmesan. Stir thoroughly until everything is mixed and the sauce is nice and smooth.

Step 12: 

Remove the shells from the oven and spoon the alfredo sauce over the top and sides of them. And add a little bit more of the marinara on top.

Step 13: 

Sprinkle bread crumbs and if you wish some additional parmesan cheese on the top.

Step 14:

Finally, broil on high for 2-3 mins to brown the cheese off slightly.

And we are done!

Ingredient substitutions

There’s a good amount of alternatives you can use for various ingredients in this recipe, particularly things like the pasta shells which may be hard to source.

1. Manicotti

This is what you want if you can’t source the shells, they are essentially small pasta sleeves that you can stuff with the cheese mixture exactly how you would the shells. 

They are also much more common and you should be able to get them at most local grocery stores.

2. Lasagna noodles

Another alternative to the pasta is lasagna noodles, you can cook them according to the instructions and then simply lay them down on the tray and cover them with the cheese mixture instead of ‘wrapping’ them.

What to serve with Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

Much like any good pasta dish, there are lots of great sides or additions you can make to turn it into something unique and extra delicious

Meatballs

Pasta and meatballs, need I say more? This has all the ingredients of a great pasta dish, so it only makes sense that some delicious fried meatballs will pair perfectly with the cheesy pasta shells.

Pesto Caesar Salad

Perfect for lightening up that heavy cheese and sauce combination with some nice fresh vegetables, topped with a bit of balsamic vinegar and pesto where the cheese will really tie it together with the shells nicely.

Sauteed Mushrooms

A great choice if you wanted to keep the more cooked and heavy feel of the shells but didn’t wish to go the meat route.

Sautee with garlic and herbs on a high heat to let the mushrooms brown, serve on top of the shells. Delicious!

How to reheat Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

As for most pasta dishes, they are always best when served fresh. But you can still store these for a while if needed. Here’s how you’d go about reheating them.

How to reheat Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells in a pot

Try to use a pot with a nice lid on that’s deep enough to fit everything in.

Add just a dash of water on the bottom and place the shells in. Reheat everything for 5-10 minutes until warmed through, then remove the lid and let some of the water evaporate. 

How to reheat Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells in a microwave

Unlike many dishes where we worry about the microwave making them soggy, this one is the opposite where the pasta likes to dry out and become tough.

To help counter this drizzle a few teaspoons of water over the shells before microwaving. Heat using 1-minute intervals until they have reached an acceptable temperature.

How to reheat Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells in the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place shells on a cooking tray. Bake for roughly 20 minutes and they should be thoroughly warmed through.

Sometimes they can still turn out a little soggy this way.

How to reheat Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells in an air fryer

Add a layer of foil in the frying basket to contain everything, put the shells on top of the foil and fry for about 8 minutes at 360°F.

How to store Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

Pasta doesn’t always store the best, but if you find you simply have too much to finish that night you can refrigerate them for a few days.

Freezing is also a great option for pasta as you can make more in advance and then just defrost some when needed.

Store in the fridge

Once the shells have cooled to room temperature, place them in a sealable bag or airtight container and refrigerate. They should last for 3-5 days when stored this way.

Store in the freezer

This is the preferred method for storing pasta as they tend to reheat a bit better. Great if you want to make it in advance.

Simply place them in a freezer bag, once frozen they will keep up to three months.

olive garden giant cheese stuffed shells

Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe

A special dish that Olive Garden patrons absolutely love. Delicious giant pasta shells stuffed with cheese and served with marinara, alfredo sauce, topped with toasted garlic breadcrumbs. A fantastic Italian-inspired dish you can make at home that your family and friends will love you for!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 911 kcal
Equipment
  • 1 Oven
  • 1 broiler
  • 1 pot
  • 1 bowl
Ingredients
  
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded or grated
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 15 oz marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp butter
For the Alfredo sauce:
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup half and half milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella and provolone cheese shredded
Instructions
 
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta shells following the directions on the packet.
    This can be different from brand to brand but usually requires 10-12 minutes of cooking with perhaps a little added salt.
  • In a bowl, add the ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone cheeses along with parmesan, basil, oregano, and garlic. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Rinse the pasta shells with cool water and make sure there’s no water collecting inside them.
  • Spray a pan with nonstick spray and add 1 cup of marinara to the bottom of it.
  • Now we take the filling we mixed earlier and stuff the pasta shells with 2 tablespoons of the filling per shell. You can also use your fingers as a spoon if you feel you can gauge the amount better.
  • Place the shells on top of the marinara sauce, and cover will aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F.
  • While that’s cooking, we can take a skillet and melt the tablespoon of butter in it. To this we then add the breadcrumbs, keep stirring until the crumbs turn a nice toasty brown color and move them to a separate bowl.
  • In the same skillet melt 6 more tablespoons of butter and add the garlic which we will saute for 1 minute.
  • To the sauteed garlic, we now add the half and half and both the mozzarella and parmesan. Stir thoroughly until everything is mixed and the sauce is nice and smooth.
  • Remove the shells from the oven and spoon the alfredo sauce over the top and sides of them. And add a little bit more of the marinara on top.
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs and if you wish some additional parmesan cheese on the top.
  • Finally, broil on high for 2-3 mins to brown the cheese off slightly.
    And we are done!
Nutrition
Calories: 911kcalCarbohydrates: 74.3gProtein: 44.3gFat: 49.3gSaturated Fat: 29.3gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1409mgPotassium: 615mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 13.9gCalcium: 896mgIron: 4mg
error: Content is protected !!