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This delicious Italian baked lumaconi pasta shells recipe is perfect for meatless Mondays, vegetarians and religious holidays when meat isn't eaten.
- 24 lumaconi pasta shells or conchiglioni (about 300g) I used lumaconi made by pasta Garofalo
- 250 g fresh ricotta
- 100 ml heavy cream (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 egg
- 30 g Parmesan or grana grated
- 400 g Catalonian chicory or spinach
- 30 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 300-400 g cherry tomatoes
- 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch nutmeg grated
- 1 knob butter
Soak the dried porcini in warm water for about 30 minutes. Drain them and save the water.
peel the garlic cloves,
Wash the chicory or spinach well, drain and if using Catalonian chicory cut off the harder lower parts of the stalks and remove any damaged leaves. Boil the greens in a pan with a little water for about 10 minutes. When ready drain the greens, let them cool then chop into smaller pieces.
Wash the cherry tomatoes and place them on a baking tin. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast in a preheated oven at 180° until they start to soften. (This step can be skipped and the tomatoes can be cut into quarters and fried immediately to save time)
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add 2 peeled garlic cloves and fry until they start to brown. Then add the roasted tomatoes to the pan and cook on a moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Add some of the porcini soaking water and continue cooking until the tomatoes are very soft. This sauce is semi-dry not very liquidy. If you prefer you can also add a little tomato passata to make ‘more’ sauce.
Cut the drained porcini into smaller pieces. Melt a knob of butter in a small frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute 1 garlic clove until it starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the white wine and continue cooking until the alcohol evaporates. Add the spinach or chicory to the mushrooms. Mix everything together well and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Boil the giant lumaconi pasta shells until they are half cooked (about 8 minutes), drain them and run cold water over them to stop them cooking further. Drain again and spread them out on a dry cloth.
Put the ricotta in a bowl, with 1 egg, a generous handful of grana or parmesan and the heavy cream Mix together well. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg. Add the mushroom and chicory to the ricotta mixture and mix together well again.
Spread a little tomato sauce in the bottom of an oven dish. Stuff the lumaconi one by one using a teaspoon and place them in the oven dish, with the filling facing upwards.
Distribute the rest of the tomato sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with plenty of grated Parmesan or grana and bake at 190 ° C. for about 15-20 minutes, covering the dish with aluminum foil for the first 10 minutes.
Serve hot with more grated cheese if required.
You can use conchiglioni (giant pasta shells) instead of lumaconi.
You can use spinach or another leaf vegetable instead of Catalonian chicory.
To change things up a bit, why not use a bechamel (white) sauce instead of tomato sauce? Just as delicious!
If you’re looking for other vegetarian baked pasta recipes check out these..
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