Classic Shells Bolognese

Day PartDinner
Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeItalian
Stuffed Shells

Chef David Stadmiller

TGI Fridays

Pasta adapts especially well to takeout and delivery and can be reheated without losing quality. Chef David Stadmiller of TGI Fridays fills jumbo pasta shells with a hearty beef bolognese mixture, then sauces them with marinara and sprinkles mozzarella and Parmesan on top before baking. Customers crave comfort foods now, and this dish fits the bill.



1½ tbsp. kosher salt

3 lb. jumbo shells

6 oz. vegetable oil

72 oz. marinara sauce, plus extra for coating pan

1½ lb. shredded mozzarella

Grated Parmesan cheese, as needed

6 oz. chopped fresh basil

6 oz. chopped fresh parsley

Bolognese filling

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 lb. 80/20 ground beef

3 cups (1 lb.) 1/8-in. diced carrots

3 cups (1 lb.) 1/8-in. diced celery

3 cups (1 lb.) 1/8-in. diced onion

¾ cup (6 oz.) finely chopped garlic

3 tbsp. fennel seed

6 bay leaves

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. crushed red chili flakes

2¼ lb. canned diced tomatoes

¾ cup red wine (Cabernet blend)

3 cups marinara sauce

1½ tsp. kosher salt

1½ lb. shredded mozzarella


  1. For pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook shells as package directs, until al dente.Drain pasta; toss with oil. Spread onto a sheet pan and place in a blast chiller or refrigerator to cool.
  2. For Bolognese filling: In a rondeau over medium-high heat, warm ¼ cup oil. Add beef; cook 10 to 12 minutes until fully cooked, stirring to crumble as it cooks. Remove beef and drain fat; reserve cooked beef.
  3. Return the rondeau over high heat; add remaining ¼ cup oil. Add carrots and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add celery, onions and garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Add cooked beef, fennel seeds, bay leaves, oregano and chili flakes. Bloom spices for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir tomatoes and wine into pan to deglaze. Cook 2 minutes longer, or until wine is almost completely evaporated. Remove from heat and fold in marinara and salt. Stir to fully incorporate.
  5. Pour filling onto a full sheet pan and let it cool in walk-in for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir mozzarella into cooled filling. Using a large spoon, fill each pasta shell with bolognese.
  6. In greased 2-inch half hotel pan, ladle 24 ounces marinara in an even layer across bottom. Place about 20 filled shells in pan. Top with 8 ounces mozzarella, sprinkling it over center of shells. Cover with plastic wrap and foil and refrigerate. Repeat with two more pans.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake each pan 25 to 30 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  8. To serve, portion four shells into container or shallow bowl and top with additional hot marinara. Garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil and parsley.

Photo courtesy of Barilla

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