Posted in Italian, Pasta, Vegetarian

Chunky Tomato Shell-sagna

One of things I dislike about traditional lasagna is that all the ingredients sink to the middle when you cut into it, so generally I avoid it. I don’t mind the time it takes to chop and assemble all the ingredients, but I do mind not getting every ingredient in one bite.

So I decided to make lasagna…with a twist. I admit that I was going to brave another attempt until I got to the store and could only find the pre-cooked lasagna noodles. I don’t really care for those flat sheets, which is all they had, so the decision was made for me. But what I did find was whole wheat medium shells that were tri-color. Mmmmmm.

easy pasta recipes

Since I already had ALL the lasagna ingredients in my shopping cart I decided I would make Shell-sagna and keep my fingers crossed that it was slightly more than edible.

So with a counter full of ingredients and a fully charged Kindle ready to read to me as I chopped, sautéed and simmered, I set about making this new dish.

Servings: 6


1 scallion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 onions, chopped

4 cups medium pasta shells

1 ½ cup ricotta cheese

1 cup black olives, chopped

8 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded

10 tomatoes chopped

1 can (7 oz.) tomato sauce

1 ½ tbsp. Rosemary

1 tsp. chopped basil

1 tbsp. oregano

½ tsp. sage

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

The key to making lasagna a less daunting task is first, distraction. Then organization. Now I’m not ashamed to admit that I can be a pretty disorganized cook, because I thrive in chaos. But unless I want my shell-sagna to turn into a 3 hour process, I prefer to take a more organized route.

vegetarian pasta recipe
Nothing makes my belly grumble like crispy baked CHEESE!!

Gather all the ingredients first then chop and slice and grate as needed. Once everything has been prepped then I prepare the stove by boiling water and heating oil and all that other fun stuff.


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as instructed.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and cook 7 minutes, or until transparent.
  4. Stir in 2/3 of the garlic and cook 4 minutes.
  5. Gradually add tomatoes and tomato sauce, stirring regularly until blended.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and herbs and let simmer at least 30 minutes. More time may be required for a thicker sauce, I simmered this sauce for 45 minutes.
  7. Combine ricotta, remaining garlic, scallion, salt and pepper plus a handful of mozzarella in a mixing bowl.
  8. Preheat oven to 350° F
  9. Now it’s time to layer the Shell-sagna in a 9 x 13 oven safe dish.
  10. Pour some sauce on the bottom of the dish to prevent the pasta from sticking, then place the first layer of pasta over the sauce.
  11.  Pour a thin layer of sauce over shells then spread ricotta mixture on top until a thin layer remains.
  12.  Pour in the rest of the pasta and cover in sauce. Top with cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

lasagna recipe with shells

I thought about serving a salad to go with this, but it was pretty substantial so it wasn’t necessary. I did however pair it with a lovely Romanian red wine (a gift from the in-laws) and the meal was complete. Now we have leftovers for a few days. 


Contemporary romance writer, political comedy writer, ghostwriter and editor. Lover of coffee, off-key singer, vegan and all around crazy girl!

Whatcha think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.