Blue Crab Marinara with Stuffed Shells Florentine

Blue Crab Marinara with Stuffed Shells Florentine

There are about a zillion ways to stuff pasta aren’t there? ..So here’s another! But in this recipe, we don’t just have a great filling, I went a little crazy and added crab to the sauce. I know, CRAZY right?! You’re thinking, “Woo! I never expected that!” Alright maybe you didn’t think “woo”, but this is exciting stuff, no? …Yes I am a dork.

So let me explain why I charted into such well-covered territory by stuffing shells.  –Bachelors. I work with a lot of them and they eat out like ev-er-y night. And I have repeatedly heard from these guys about a local crab shack and their awesome crab marinara. I have never been to the restaurant, but crab marinara sounded pretty great. So I stole that idea and put it over stuffed shells!

This recipe was very easy to assemble and really really delicious. And like any stuffed pasta, the leftovers taste even better the next day.

Blue Crab Marinara with Stuffed Shells Florentine
  1. 30 large pasta shells, uncooked
  2. 2 c Marinara
  3. 8 oz fresh lump crab, preferably Blue Crab
  4. 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  6. 2 cloves garlic minced
  7. 5 oz fresh spinach leaves (~4 cups)
  8. 15 oz part-skim ricotta
  9. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  10. 1/4 c chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  11. 1/4 c chopped fresh basil
  12. 1 t kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
  13. 1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
  14. 1/2 c fresh shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  15. 2 c mozzarella, divided
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the marinara and crab. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of kosher salt and the pasta shells. Cook to al dente as package directions dictate. Drain and rinse quickly with cold water.
  4. While pasta is cooking, heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil, onions, and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until spinach is nice and wilty. Transfer the spinach mixture to a cutting board and chop finely.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped spinach mixture, ricotta, egg, salt, parsley, basil,  pepper, parmesan, and 1 c mozzarella.
  6. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread the crab marinara. One by one, take a pasta shell, spoon in a couple tablespoons of ricotta-spinach mixture, and place on the crab marinara in the baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and bake another 5 minutes. Serves 6.
Erica's Recipes


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Blue Crab Marinara with Stuffed Shells Florentine


  1. says

    This is going to sound a bit crazy, but I have a question about the crab. I’ve never cooked with canned/bottled crab and have no idea if this crab is canned or bottled? If it comes in both, which tastes better? I’ve always heard that canned crab has a funny taste, so I just use fresh.

    • says

      That’s not a crazy question at all Erin, it’s actually a very good question. You are right – canned crab has a strange taste to it. Don’t use that – I would use canned shrimp before I would ever touch canned crab. I buy vacuume packed, fresh lump crab at the seafood counter. It comes in a clear or opaque plastic container and you want lump, not claw meat. Hope that answers it! Thanks!

  2. says

    What’s with guys and crab? My husband hates seafood..but he loves crab, lol. I will definitely have to give this a try. The name alone sounds full of wonderful flavors. Thanks for sharing it on Foodie Friday

  3. says

    I’ve never thought about adding seafood to my tomato sauce, and after seeing this, you’d better believe I’ll be making it! You can’t go wrong with crab, and then putting it on top of stuffed shells just sounds marvelous!

    Also, this was one of my favorite recipes featured on last week’s That’s Fresh Friday link-up! I’ll be featuring it at my site tonight as we launch this week’s link-up. Thanks so much for participating, and keep up the great work!

  4. says

    Mmmm, this looks absolutely delicious! Simple not hard to find ingredients, I’m looking forward to making this. Coming to you from Real Link Party, congrats on the feature! Pinned!


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