Last Updated on 25th July 2022 by Pauline Loughlin
We have probably all had cheese stuffed pasta shells, but have you thought abut trying them stuffed with seafood? Of course, you will want to use jumbo pasta shells. You need space to store all of the filling, after all.
You can make the seafood filling out of a wide variety of foods. You can use crab, lobster, oyster, mussels, and even calamari (squid). It’s up to you, and some people prefer imitation crab as opposed to actual crab.
Stuffed pasta shells are somewhat filling, especially if you are using large shells, but you will definitely want to pair this dish with something else to fill out your meal.
I suggest a salad with light sauce, since using light sauce makes for a good counterpoint to the heavy sauce and filling of the shells. You could also add some Italian bread to the meal, or a side of meat for a heavier, protein-rich meal.
How to Make Seafood Stuffed Shells
For the vegans and vegetarians out there, this recipe contains seafood and eggs, as well as mayonnaise, which is made from eggs as well. You can find substitutes for all of these, including soy crab, egg replacer (how to bread without eggs) and an egg-free mayonnaise like Just Mayo. So, there are options for those who want to try this recipe but would like to avoid animal products.
How to Make Seafood Stuffed Shells
- 24 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 tbsp of chopped onion
- ¼ cup and 1 teaspoon of butter
- 12 ounces of drained crabmeat
- 5 ounces of cooked salad shrimp
- ¼ cup of mayonnaise
- ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of milk
- ¼ cup of flour
- ¼ tsp of pepper
- 1 tsp of seafood seasoning
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta from the seafood stuffed shells recipe in a large pot, according to packaging instructions. Typically, you will warm up enough water in a pot to cover the pasta and then add the pasta when the water is boiling. From there, cook the pasta until tender.
- Beat the egg and set aside.
- Sauté the onion in butter using a skillet and then set that aside.
- Combine egg, shrimp, mozzarella cheese, crab, 2 tablespoons of milk, mayonnaise, pepper, and seafood seasoning.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish by greasing it.
- Drain the pasta and rinse it, then stuff each shell with about a tablespoon of seafood mixture.
- Place the shells into the baking dish, but don’t bake yet.
- Melt the rest of your butter in a separate saucepan on medium heat and add in the flour and pepper. Slowly mix in the rest of the milk and bring the mixture of a boil. Cook for an additional 2 minutes and then stir in the Parmesan cheese. You have just made cheesy white sauce, also called a roux.
- Pour the roux over the stuffed shells and garnish with seafood seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes. You will know the seafood stuffed shells are done cooking when they are bubbly.
These creamy seafood stuffed shells are perfect for lunch or dinnertime, and they are best served piping hot from the oven.
Make It Your Way
I know a lot of people have trouble making roux, so you can just buy a white sauce or cheese sauce from the grocery. It is a food that takes some time to get good at, and people make it lots of different ways.
Your food will still taste great if you go with the store bought version, but I added in the directions for making the white sauce here in case anyone needs that.
If you buy a plain white sauce with no cheese, you can heat that in a small saucepan and add in your grated Parmesan cheese to that to make it a cheese sauce. You can use white or yellow cheese sauce, as you like, for the stuffed shells seafood dish.
You could make seafood stuffed shells with alfredo sauce, as it is creamy enough to work for this dish, and when you buy it from the store, you will save yourself a lot of work. It all depends on what you prefer your dish to taste like.
You can also forgo the use of cheese sauce or white sauce entirely, as some seafood stuffed shells recipes don’t call for it at all. After all, the filling can be pretty saucy, especially if you increase the mayonnaise content.
You could substitute in cheese sauce for mayonnaise as well, to make these shells even cheesier. Then, this dish becomes more like a ravioli thanks to the cheesy filling, but it is a variation that is definitely worth trying.
The seafood stuffed pasta shells recipe I gave you is just one way to make this dish. You can make it with different shells or even make a stuffed version that used ravioli or you could make seafood stuffed shells ricotta. A lot of different cheese work well in this dish, and you may just have to make due with what is on hand.
This is the kind of food that your family will probably ask for often, so you may be trying to make it in a pinch and not know how to make it work with what you have available in your cupboards. Some people will substitute out the crab and shrimp for lobster, chicken, or tuna.
You can use just about any meat you like in it, and it works very well with any kind of seafood. Even catfish and other whitefish will make for a nice filling, and you can use those without changing any other parts of the seafood stuffed pasta shells recipes.
To give your seafood stuffed pasta shells a bit of a crunch, you can bake them with dried onions or even breadcrumbs on top. If you don’t have those available, then I have some handy substitute options.
You can take crackers of any kind and pulverise them with a rolling pin and then sprinkle that over your pasta shells before baking them in the oven. This works best if you are using some sort of sauce on your stuffed seafood shells. That way, the cracker crumbs will stick to the sauce when baking instead of falling off.
Whether you are making seafood alfredo stuffed shells or homemade cheese sauce covered seafood stuffed shells, you have some options to work with, and I hope this guide has been helpful in giving you some ideas and sparking your interest in giving the dish a try.