Crab-stuffed Pasta Shells


  • Makes6 to 6 servings

Easier than lasagna, more fun than manicotti, pasta shells are a perfect container for the deliciously crabby stuffing. Instead of the canned crabmeat, you can use 1 lb (500 g) freshly cooked crabmeat, or an equivalent amount of chopped imitation crab, if you prefer.


  • 3 170-g cans crabmeat, drained

  • 1 cup ricotta

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells

  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce, (any kind)


  • In a medium bowl, gently mix together the crabmeat, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Try not to break the lumps of crabmeat up completely - the texture is nicer if you leave it in larger pieces.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Drop the pasta shells into the boiling water 3 or 4 at a time, stirring after each addition. You want the water to remain at a boil to prevent the shells from sticking together. Cook shells for 10 to 15 minutes, until just tender but not falling apart. (To be safe, you might want to cook a few extra shells in case any of them disintegrate while they're cooking.) Drain, then rinse under cold running water, gently separating the shells from one another.

  • Call in the kids; it's time to stuff! Holding the shells open, fill with enough crab mixture that they're stuffed but not overflowing. About 1½ tbsp (20 mL) per shell should do the trick. Maybe a little less. Anyway, you should have enough filling to stuff all 24 shells.

  • Spread the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. (22 x 33 cm) baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in the dish so that they are snuggled cozily in the spaghetti sauce. The sauce shouldn't come over the tops of the shells. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 40 minutes, then uncover and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the shells are cooked through. Serve shells with a bit of the sauce spooned around them.

This article was originally published on Nov 01, 2002

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