Seafood stuffed pasta is made from jumbo pasta shells stuffed with juicy prawns, tender calamari and plump mussels and oven-baked in a creamy cheese sauce. You’d think that a dish this good should be reserved for a special occasion, but it’s so easy to make I’m sure it’s going to make a regular appearance at your dinner table!
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Cheesy seafood stuffed pasta shells
Back in the day, when I first got married, more years ago than I care to remember, the only pasta you could buy was either spaghetti or macaroni. Both equally long. The only difference was that the macaroni had a hole running through the middle of it. There were no fancy pasta shapes that we can buy today. If you wanted small shapes you had to break the macaroni into little pieces! I well remember how excited I was the first time I discovered a box of ‘new’ elbow macaroni in my local supermarket. 🙂
These days though, we are spoiled for choice. Pasta now comes in any number of shapes and sizes, shells, spirals, twirls, and even mini rice-shaped pasta which I use for this delicious summer salad. And there is so much that you can do with all the different shapes – each one inspires its own recipe. This jumbo conchiglioni that I use in this recipe for seafood-stuffed pasta shells, for instance, is just begging to be stuffed with a delicious filling.
So if you enjoy pasta and seafood then I think you are going to love this dish of seafood stuffed pasta shells with a cheesy sauce. Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with a mixture of shellfish, garlic, onions and mushrooms and covered with a creamy cheesy sauce before being baked in the oven. This dish is simple enough to make for a quick and easy family supper, but sophisticated enough for an elegant dinner party.
The beauty of this dish is that you can put it together in advance, and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to pop it in the oven. Then you just have to bake it for 20 minutes until the cheesy topping is bubbling and golden.
All this dish needs by way of sides, is a simple tomato salad and a slice of garlic bread to mop up the delicious cheesy sauce.
What you will need
For baking the dish in the oven you will need a casserole dish large enough to hold your pasta and seafood bake.
**You can find the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this seafood-stuffed pasta recipe on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
The quantities given are for 4 people as a main meal. If you want to serve the seafood stuffed pasta as a starter you should halve the ingredients.
Prawns – I like to buy frozen raw prawns that have been deveined and shelled. You can buy unshelled prawns, but then you will have to devein and remove the shells yourself.
Mixed seafood – this is a mixture of frozen ready-cooked clams, mussels and calamari rings.
Pasta shells – these are large (jumbo) pasta shells, sometimes called conchiglioni. Their large size makes them ideal for holding all the delicious seafood and sauce. You will need approximately 80 grams of dried pasta shells per person.
Tip – cook more pasta than you think you will need. You may find that some of the shells break on cooking, making them impossible to fill.
Mushrooms – you can use white or chestnut mushrooms depending on your own taste.
Onions – white or yellow onions are best for this dish.
Garlic – you can either use fresh garlic that you mince yourself, or for convenience use ready-crushed garlic from a jar.
Olive oil – this is used for frying the onions and garlic.
For the cheese sauce you will need:
- Grated cheese
- Salt and pepper
What to do
Defrost the seafood. You can either leave it in the fridge to defrost, or if you are in a hurry, place the unopened packets in a sink of warm water. They won’t take long at all to defrost like this. Cut the shrimp in half or thirds, depending on the size (this is to make it easier to fit it into the pasta shells).
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, then drain into a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave in the colander to drain.
While the pasta is cooking, chop the onions and mushrooms into approximately half-inch pieces. If you are using fresh garlic, peel it and mince finely.
Make the filling
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms, garlic and onions until the onions start to turn translucent. Do this over a low heat so as not to brown the onions.
The onions do not have to be completely cooked, they will continue cooking once the dish is in the oven.
Add the prawns to the onions and continue to stir until the prawns have turned pink. This will only take a few minutes.
Stir in the mixed seafood.
Set the pan aside to cool.
Make the sauce
Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour. Mix will to remove any lumps.
Return the pan to the heat and pour in the milk. Continue to cook over a medium heat until the sauce thickens.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Add the grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
Assemble and bake
Fill each shell with a spoonful of the cooled seafood/onion mixture and arrange them in an ovenproof baking dish.
Spread any remaining seafood mixture over the top.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and seafood, making sure that everything is well covered. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven (180C / 375F) for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden and the seafood pasta shells are piping hot.
Serve immediately with a fresh tomato salad and slices of garlic bread.
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Seafood pasta FAQ
Because the dish is made with defrosted frozen seafood it is not advisable to re-freeze this dish.
However, you can assemble this dish no longer than one day in advance, and store it, covered, in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.
I sometimes add a handful of frozen peas along with the mixed seafood. Peas and seafood go so well together, and the peas also add a nice splash of colour.
For a crispier topping you could sprinkle with Panko breadcrumbs before adding the grated cheese.
If your sauce does not thicken (maybe you had either too much milk or not enough flour), make a slurry with a teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch) and a tablespoon of cold water and stir it into the sauce over a gentle heat until the sauce thickens.
Bear in mind that the sauce will thicken further when you add the cheese.
Save for later
If you would like to try these cheesy seafood-stuffed pasta shells, why not pin this recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily. Just click the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
Other seafood recipes
You may also enjoy these other easy seafood recipes:
- Pasta pescatore (seafood pasta) – a classic seafood pasta dish made with prawns, calamari rings, squid and mussels in a tangy tomato sauce.
- Creamy seafood linguine with shrimp and lobster – sweet, juicy lobster chunks and succulent garlic prawns, swimming in a mouthwatering creamy sauce, served on a bed of perfectly cooked liguine.
- Irish seafood chowder – a hearty soup made with seafood and cream, crammed with juicy prawns, plump mussels and clams, and tender calamari with plenty of vegetables.
- Pad Thai Noodles with chicken and shrimp – All the flavours of Thailand combine in this delicious meal of Pad Thai Noodles with chicken and prawns.
- Mussels with pasta in a spicy tomato sauce – plump juicy mussels are cooked in their shells in a creamy chilli tomato and onion sauce, served on a bed of pasta.
Seafood stuffed pasta shells in a creamy cheesy sauce
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 12 ounces / 320 grams jumbo-sized pasta shells (allow extra for breakage)
- 8 ounces / 250 grams frozen raw prawns (shrimp)
- 8 ounces / 250 grams frozen cooked mixed seafood (seafood cocktail)
- 1½ cups / 150 grams mushrooms chopped into 1cm pieces
- 2 medium onions chopped into 1cm pieces
- 2 cloves garlic crushed / minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying the mushrooms and onions
- 2 ounces / 60 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons / 30 grams flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese for the sauce
- ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Boil the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water, according to the instructions on the packet.12 ounces / 320 grams jumbo-sized pasta shells
- Drain the cooked pasta through a colander and then rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Leave to drain in the colander until needed.
- Chop the mushrooms and onions into 1cm dice and peel and mince the garlic. Fry gently in 1 tablespoon olive oil until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have started to soften.1½ cups / 150 grams mushrooms, 2 medium onions, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Chop the defrosted prawns into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size, then add to the mushrooms and onions and fry gently until the shrimp is completely pink – approximately 5 minutes.8 ounces / 250 grams frozen raw prawns (shrimp)
- Add the defrosted seafood mix and stir through to combine.8 ounces / 250 grams frozen cooked mixed seafood (seafood cocktail)
- Carefully spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seafood mixture into each of the cooked pasta shells and arrange open side up in a baking dish.Scatter any remaining seafood mixture over the top.
- Set the oven to 180°C / 375°F
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, then remove from the heat and mix in the flour until there are no lumps2 ounces / 60 grams butter, 2 tablespoons / 30 grams flour
- Return to the heat and add the milk. Stir continuously until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens.2 cups milk
- Add the grated cheese and stir until melted.1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Season with salt (optional) and plenty of freshly ground black pepperSalt and ground black pepper to taste
- Pour the sauce over the pasta shells in the baking dish, taking care to cover completely.
- Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
- Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Serve with a fresh tomato salad and slices of garlic bread.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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