Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells (Conchiglioni) is a delicious take on a traditional Italian lasagna. The difference is that it's made with bolognese and creamy béchamel sauce, stuffed inside jumbo shells made from pasta.
What is Conchiglioni?
If you've ever been to an Italian supermarket, you've probably seen these cool dried pasta shells. They're called Conchiglioni which means shells in Italian. It's a fun way to to eat pasta. It can be intimidating no knowing how to cook something new, like Seashell Pasta. You've come to the right place to discover how to cook Pasta Shells!
How Do You Cook Jumbo Pasta Shells?
There are many ways ways to enjoy this seas shell shaped pasta. Some people stuff them with cream cheese or ricotta, others use sausage or bolognese meat sauce. I have a similar recipe called Stuffed Conchiglioni Bolognese. It's similar but less creamy and has a tomato pasta sauce base instead of Béchamel.
You just cook these jumbo pasta shells like you cook regular pasta. In salted boiling water until they are al dente. Don't overcook pasta shells, or they will be too mushy and won't hold their shape well.
Vegetables in Ragu Meat Sauce
This recipe for bolognese sauce is delicious and sneaks in lots of vegetables, perfect for kids! Ragu is a typical Italian meat sauce used in many recipes. This Ragu adds zucchini, onions, red peppers and carrots for extra vitamins and flavor. Honestly, your kids won't even notice they are eating vegetables.
When making Ragu, I always use Passata or Tomato Puree. Passata is puree of uncooked tomatoes that is free of seeds and tomato skins. This allows me to add different herbs and spices. When making homemade Ragu, it has a richer flavor when compared to using store made pasta sauce. If you can't find Passata, then use your favorite pasta sauce. You can also add some red wine to the Ragu sauce while it's cooking.
Bechamel Cheese Sauce
Cheesy Bechamel sauce an Italian hot cheese sauce that's perfect for Lasagna Stuffed Shells (Conchiglioni). Basically a white sauce made with parmesan cheese. To make Bechamel, you need to make a roux paste with butter and flour. It needs to cook for a few minutes until it starts to turn a golden color. Slowly pour the milk, while whisking until it thickens. Keep stirring and slowly pouring! Finally add the parmesan, bay leaf and salt and pepper. It's a tasty and creamy way to make an easy cheese sauce for the base of your Lasagna Pasta Shells.
How to Make Lasagna Pasta Shells
This recipe makes enough for 2 baking trays. To get started, pour the Bechamel sauce into the bases of oven proof trays. This prevents the Pasta Shells from drying out and sticking to the base while cooking.
It's easy to complete the rest of the process. Using a spoon, stuff the Ragu sauce inside each cooked pasta shell. Lay the Pasta Shells on top of the Bechamel Sauce until the trays are full. Top the shells with grated Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and it's heated through.
Now you've got your perfect Lasagna Stuffed Shells with Béchamel. A creamy, meaty and cheesy pasta recipe that's a fun to eat, and stuffed with secret vegetables! Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- 1 packet jumbo pasta shells conchiglioni 1lb/500g
Ragu Meat Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves diced
- 1 small zucchini finely diced
- 1 grated carrot
- 1 red pepper finely diced
- 2 lbs /1kg ground beef or ground pork/beef mix
- 1 jar Passata sauce 700 grams
- ¼ cup fresh oregano chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 bay leaf
- Cook the large pasta shells as per instructions and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat the oil fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.
- Stir in the vegetables, chopped herbs and 1 jar of the passatta. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- To make the béchamel sauce, melt 5 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix together until a smooth paste. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until until it turns a golden color. Gradually whisk in the milk in small batches and stir until the sauce thickens. Add the parmesan cheese, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool before using.
Pasta Shell Instructions
- Fill the pasta shells generously with the ground beef mixture. Pour béchamel sauce into the base of an oven proof dish. Neatly lay the stuffed pasta shells on top of the béchamel sauce, cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Place in a preheated 350°F/180°C oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and meat is warmed through.