Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells (Conchiglioni Bolognese) is one of the many ways to enjoy Italian jumbo pasta shells. These pasta shells are called Conchiglioni in Italian. It's a classic baked pasta dish that's fun to eat and easy to make, full of flavor!
What are Pasta Shells?
They are often called Jumbo Pasta Shells or Conchiglioni in Italian. Of course, they are pasta made in the shape of large sea shells. It's a tasty way to enjoy pasta, stuffed with your favorite ingredients.
What Do You Stuff Pasta Shells With?
Anything can be stuffed inside the jumbo Stuffed Pasta Shells (Conchiglioni Bolognese). I like stuffing creamy fillings like cream cheese and ricotta, to ground meats and sausages. This recipe uses a basic bolognese recipe that incorporates some vegetables, like zucchini, carrot and red pepper. I think it's always good to sneak in vegetables wherever you can, especially when feeding kids.
Pasta Shell Sauce
It's easy to make a ragu meat sauce for your pasta shell filling. Ragu is Italian for a meat sauce with onions, tomatoes, and red wine. You can use store-bought pasta sauces when making the Ragu Bolognese Meat Sauce. However, when possible, I use Passata Sauce when making Ragu.
Passata is un-cooked pureed tomatoes and you can add fresh herbs for flavor you like. In North American, it's known as Tomato Puree or Tomato Sauce (different from British Tomato Sauce which is Ketchup). Passata is my go to pasta sauce base and is always in my pantry as it's full of tomato goodness.
How to Make Stuffed Pasta Shells
The first thing is to boil the pasta shells according to instructions. Allow them to cool while you prepare the pasta sauce. Prepare the Ragu Meat Sauce and allow to cool for a bit so you don't burn yourself.
When assembling the Stuffed Pasta Shells, pour a jar of store-bought pasta sauce as the base in the oven proof dish. This is what the Stuffed Pasta Shells will sit on. Spoon in the ragu sauce in each pasta shell, and place on the baking tray. Cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese before baking for 20 minutes. This makes 2 trays of baked pasta shells.
Pasta Shell Recipe Tips
- Double the Ragu Meat sauce, and use that as a meaty base, instead of the store bought pasta sauce
- Mix 50/50 ground beef and ground pork for better flavor
- Pre-cook the meat the day before, to assemble pasta shells for an easy dinner. Because the ground beef is refrigerated, it will take slightly longer to heat through. Cover with foil for 35 minutes so it doesn't burn
- This recipe makes 2 trays, freeze the second tray for another dinner
Easy Dinner Recipes You'll Love
- Skillet Cheeseburger Gnocchi
- Easy Sheet Pan Gnocchi
- Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Creamy Chicken Stroganoff
- Cauliflower Fried Rice with Bacon
You could say this dish is similar to lasagna, maybe just presented in a different way. You can make Lasagna Stuffed Pasta Shells too! Whatever your favorite way to make Conchiglioni Bolognese, these cheesy stuffed Pasta Shells are sure to be a family favorite. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
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
- 1 jar Passata Sauce (tomato puree)
- 1 jar store-bought Pasta Sauce
- ¼ cup fresh oregano chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Conchiglioni Pasta Shells
- 1 packet jumbo pasta shells conchiglioni 500g/1lb
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 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 the Passata Sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the store bought Pasta Sauce into the base of an oven proof dish. Generously stuff the pasta shells with the ground beef mixture. Neatly lay the stuffed pasta shells on top of the 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.