Pasta is convenient, inexpensive, and fast and easy to cook. Although we most often grab for that box of spaghetti and jar of sauce, the combination can get tiresome. Stuffed pasta, on the other hand, is a nice change from the ordinary, and opens the door to a wide range of fillings and flavors. Some stuffed pasta, like ravioli, require a bit of work when making them from scratch, but do pay off with a fresh taste you can't find in store-bought. However, if you are looking for a shortcut, buying ready-made and adding your own sauce is a satisfying solution. Shells and cannelloni can be purchased dried and filled with a variety of ingredients. The only part that may be lengthy is the cooking time, but that is mostly unattended.
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This baked tortellini with three sauces recipe uses frozen tortellini along with jarred pasta sauce, Alfredo sauce, and pesto to make a decadent and delicious dish. The addition of Italian sausage sautéed with onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers results in a filling and flavorful meal, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top adds a nice melted and golden brown finish. You can assemble it ahead of time, then cover and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to pop it into the oven (add another 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time).
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This stuffed pasta recipe may not have a huge ingredient list but it is big on taste. sautéed onion adds another layer of flavor to jarred spaghetti sauce, and chicken thighs bring a hearty richness to the dish. The raw, seasoned, cubed chicken is mixed with some sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese and stuffed into the tubes. The manicotti is covered with more cheese and baked until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.
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Making fresh ravioli—completely from scratch—is not that difficult, although the dough does take a little time and requires resting, so making ahead is best. A mixture of eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and fresh thyme becomes a rich and flavorful filling for these three-cheese ravioli. Using a pasta machine will speed up the process of getting the sheets of dough the right thickness, and a ravioli cutting tool creates a nice fluted edge. Serve with the sauce of your choice.
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Cappelletti means "little hats" in Italian and is so named because of their rounded shape. This recipe calls for making the pasta from scratch, which only requires flour and eggs. Once mixed and kneaded, the dough is rolled out and cut into small circles, and a spoonful of the chicken, ricotta, and Parmesan filling is added. The cappelletti is folded up and boiled until tender.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Known as "manicotti" in the United States and cannelloni in Italy, this long tube-shaped pasta is usually filled with a ricotta cheese mixture. In this recipe, the ricotta is combined with a generous amount of spinach (making it truly Italian), a beaten egg, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of nutmeg. The filling is stuffed into the cooked cannelloni tubes (or rolled up in a pasta sheet), placed in a baking dish with besciamella (white sauce), and baked until golden brown.
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Although this recipe includes a filling and sauce from scratch, it does call for using wonton wrappers in place of homemade pasta, saving a bit of time and effort. The butternut squash is roasted, creating a nice nutty flavor that combines beautifully with sautéed shallots, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. The wrappers are filled and cooked, and then topped with a creamy white wine sauce and toasted hazelnuts.
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Although this recipe takes over an hour to make, only five minutes of that is for prep—you don't even need to boil the tortellini before putting it in the baking dish. Jarred sauce and water are poured over, Alfredo sauce is added along with a little milk, and the casserole is topped with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. It is baked until tender, bubbling, and the cheese is melted and gooey.
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Serve up something a little different for dinner with this ham-stuffed manicotti, a great use for leftover ham after the holidays. The cooked meat is mixed with sautéed onion, garlic, and green bell peppers, and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Jarred Alfredo sauce is dressed up with a little Swiss cheese and mixed into the filling as well as poured over the top of the shells before baking.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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This basic recipe for stuffed shells has a lot of flavor thanks to the homemade tomato sauce. A ricotta filling is spooned into the cooked shells, and everything is topped with a sauce made of onion, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Mozzarella and Parm are sprinkled over the top, and the shells are baked until hot and bubbling.
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This dish comes together quickly with cooked tortellini but has a homemade taste due to the tomato cream sauce made from scratch. Crushed tomatoes are combined with herbs and simmered with sauteed garlic, cream, and Parmesan cheese; the tortellini is added and the pasta is sprinkled with cheese and fresh parsley.
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Homemade pasta is the base for these sweet and savory ravioli. Mashed sweet potato combines with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses and fresh thyme to make a flavorful filling, and the ravioli are finished off with a brown butter sauce with toasted pecans. These raviolis do take a bit of time and effort to make, but they also freeze beautifully for last-minute meals.
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This rich-tasting stuffed pasta is a perfect dish on a cold winter night. Ground beef is simmered along with sautéed onions, prosciutto, and chopped plum tomatoes and then combined with a mixture of milk-soaked fresh breadcrumbs, egg, and cheese. The filling is stuffed into the pasta tubes, covered with a besciamella (Italian white sauce), and baked until bubbling and golden.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Looking for a great way to use leftover cooked chicken? These stuffed shells are a complete meal in themselves—especially since they include broccoli. Ricotta, egg, dried herbs, garlic, and Parmesan cheese round out the creamy filling, and jarred Alfredo sauce and shredded mozzarella finish off the baked dish.