Pasta alla Pastora Recipe from Alto Adige

Pasta alla Pastora Recipe from Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

Maccheroni pasta alla pastora is a typical meat pasta dish from the beautiful Alto-Adige (South Tyrol) in North-East Italy. This is a delicious, hearty and very tasty recipe that is not only a great way to use up leftover Bolognese but is sure to become a family favourite!

Pasta alla pastora recipe with leftover Bolognese from Alto Adige

Maccheroni alla Pastora.

In Italian, the word ‘pastora’ means shepherd. However, despite this recipe’s popularity in the homes and restaurants of the Alto-Adige, I couldn’t find the origins of this pasta alla pastora. It certainly doesn’t normally include ingredients that one would associate with shepherds!

ingredients for Pasta alla pastora recipe from Alto Adige

The Alto-Adige region is bilingual, with many people speaking German. This is because it borders with Austria and in fact, used to be Austrian not Italian. The German name for this dish is ‘hirten maccheroni’, which means shepherd’s maccheroni!

shelled peas, sliced mushrooms,chopped onion and cooked ham pieces in bowls

There are other pasta recipes with the same name from Southern Italy, for example Calabria. There they make it with sheep’s ricotta and sausage. However, this recipe from the South Tyrol normally doesn’t include sheep’s ricotta. Perhaps this maccheroni alla pastora was simply a recipe enjoyed by sheep farming families!

shelled peas, sliced mushrooms, cooked ham pieces and chopped onion in deep frying pan

One sauce for 2 recipes.

Whatever the origins of its name, alla pastora is so worth trying. The pasta sauce has cooked ham, peas, mushrooms, meat ragu and cream. In fact, this is also a great dish to use up leftover Bolognese. Although, of course, you can make the meat sauce specifically for this dish, which is what I did. I then used the rest of the bolognese to make a lasagna.

Bolognese sauce and cream added to mushroom, ham and pea sauce in deep frying pan

So, if you double the quantity of ingredients when you make your Bolognese sauce, you’ll have the most time-consuming part of two or even 3 great pasta recipes done with one preparation. Leftover Bolognese can be frozen for 2-3 months! 

sauce for pasta alla pastora in deep frying pan

Different versions of pasta alla pastora.

Like many other Italian pasta recipes, there are several versions of this pasta alla pastora. In fact, some people replace the Bolognese with fresh sausage. In addition, you can use either fresh mushrooms, such as porcini or champignon, or dried mushrooms. I used fresh champignon (white button mushrooms). Also, not every recipe I found included peas. But, I put them in as we have fresh peas at the moment. You can also use frozen peas.

Canneroni pasta Divella

The pasta.

Maccheroni in Italian (not macaroni) usually refers to narrow pasta tubes. However, in some parts of Italy they use ‘maccheroni’ to describe other kinds of pasta. For example in Calabria they also call ‘fileja’ maccheroni. In Abruzzo, they make maccheroni alla chitarra which is actually more like spaghetti. In addition, not all maccheroni are exactly the same size and many Italians refer to wider pasta tubes like rigatoni or tortiglioni as maccheroni!

canneroni pasta tubes added to pasta sauce in frying pan

You can actually use any type of pasta tube for this pasta alla pastora recipe. I used a pasta called ‘canneroni’ from a company in Puglia called Divella.  The word ‘canneroni’, translates to a ‘large cane’ or ‘rod’, but it also means the throat in Neapolitan dialect.

Pasta alla pastora recipe with leftover Bolognese from Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

The canneroni from Divella are ridged (rigate) meaning the surface has grooves. I think this type of pasta tube is better as the sauce adheres really well to the pasta. You can use any other short pasta shape, such as penne rigate, sedani, elicoidale, rigatoni or gargati.

Pasta alla pastora recipe for leftover Bolognese from Alto Adige

Whichever kind of pasta tube you use, I’m sure this recipe will join your list of favourite pasta dishes. This is a creamy and truly delicious dish that is bound to be a winner with everyone.

If you do try this pasta alla pastora recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon appetito!

Other meat ragu recipes on The Pasta Project for you to make!

  1. Tagliatelle Bolognese recipe from Emilia-Romagna 
  2. Lasagne al forno recipe from Emilia-Romagna 
  3. Pasta with Marchigiano ragu recipe from Le Marche
  4. Tuscan pasta tordellata with ragu, Swiss chard and ricotta
  5. Pasta al Forno (baked pasta) recipe from Sicily

Save this recipe for later?

If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.

5 from 25 votes
Pasta alla pastora recipe from Alto Adige (South Tyrol)
Pasta alla Pastora, Recipe from Alto Adige (South Tyrol)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This hearty pasta dish from the beautiful Dolomite mountain region in North East Italy is a brilliant recipe for using up leftover ragu. So next time you are planning to make a lasagna or pasta Bolognese make extra sauce and cook once but eat twice!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige
Keyword: alla pastora, Bolognese, canneroni, Italian food, Italian recipe, maccheroni, ragu
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400 g canneroni pasta (i4oz) or maccheroni
  • 200 g Bolognese sauce (7oz)
  • 1 white onion peeled and chopped
  • 100 g fresh peas (3.5) or frozen
  • 100 g cooked ham cut into small cubes
  • 200 g mushrooms (70z) I used white button mushrooms
  • 150 ml fresh cream (5 fl oz)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley chopped for serving
  1. If you aren't using leftover Bolognese sauce follow the recipe in the link in the recipe notes to make Bolognese. This sauce takes a while to cook but you can make it the day before and I'd suggest making enough for 2 meals. 

  2. Peel and chop the onion, clean and slice the mushrooms and shell the peas if using fresh peas.  

  3. Cook the onion in some olive oil in a deep frying pan until it starts to soften. Add the mushrooms, ham and peas and cook covered, on a low heat, for approx. 20- 15 minutes. If the sauce seems dry add a little stock or water. Fresh peas may need slightly longer. Check they are cooked before adding the ragu.

  4. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to the boil for the pasta, add salt when it starts to boil and add the pasta once it starts to boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

  5. When the peas, ham and mushrooms are ready, add salt and pepper to taste. Then add the meat sauce and the cream. 

  6. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix everything together well and then sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.   

Recipe Notes

For Bolognese sauce you can follow the recipe for tagliatelle Bolognese. Click HERE

Cooking times do not include the time it takes to make the Bolognese.

You can use any type of pasta tube with in this recipe. I would suggest maccheroni, sedoni, rigatoni, penne rigate or tortiglioni.

Pin for Later

pasta alla pastora

You May Also Like


  • Avatar
    May 23, 2019 9:32 pm

    The pasta looks wholesome and yum..I love the versatility of the sauce that it can be used for 2 dishes,Isn’t that great?

  • Avatar
    Kari Heron
    May 23, 2019 7:12 pm

    I thought I was the only one who makes extra bolognese and freeze the leftovers! Literally have some turkey bolognese in my freezer right now. Will do this recipe for little one because I have all the ingredients handy and a nice wholegrain rigatoni.

  • Avatar
    May 22, 2019 7:31 pm

    What a great way to use leftover Bolognese as something else, and so hearty too.

  • Avatar
    Maman de sara
    May 21, 2019 4:31 am

    Great way to use leftovers. That pasta looks delicious.

  • Avatar
    May 20, 2019 6:36 pm

    Yum! That pasta sauce looks incredible!

  • Avatar
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    May 20, 2019 5:36 pm

    Most unfortunately, I’ve been on a low-carb diet for the past two weeks. I have vivid dreams about pasta and this one is going to take me to full on “fantasy” territory!

  • Avatar
    Sharon Chen
    May 20, 2019 5:22 pm

    I love pasta! This will be one of my new recipes to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    May 20, 2019 5:16 pm

    My family loved this pasta and I love how easy the recipe was. Definitely recommend!

  • Avatar
    Jeannette (Jay Joy)
    May 20, 2019 11:06 am

    I really have some cravings for Italian food. This is perfect for dinner… and leftovers!

  • Avatar
    May 20, 2019 8:46 am

    A delicious way to use leftovers. This pasta dish is definitely calling my name. I must make it as soon as possible. I really like the ham mushrooms combo. Oh, with that homemade bolognese sauce….mmmm perfection.

  • Avatar
    May 20, 2019 8:27 am

    It’s hard to beat a meaty pasta dish. And then you add mushrooms to the mix? I’m sold!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    May 20, 2019 4:36 am

    I love your tip of doubling the quantity of ingredients when you make the Bolognese sauce so that I can have two or even three great pasta recipes done with one preparation. Such a great idea!

  • Avatar
    Cheese Curd In Paradise
    May 20, 2019 3:07 am

    I am seriously drooling over here! The ham with the mushrooms and pasta sauce sounds sooooo good. I think i’ll be dreaming about this dish!

  • Avatar
    Jenni LeBaron
    May 20, 2019 1:13 am

    The Bolognese sauce looks fantastic, but the peas might be my favorite part. I think they add such great flavor and texture to pasta dishes.

  • Avatar
    Geetanjali Tung
    May 19, 2019 7:53 pm

    What a lovely dish! I You have amazing collections of pasta recipes! It is so good to learn new recipes and I am always ready for it. Thank you☺

  • Avatar
    May 19, 2019 2:33 am

    Pasta is a staple in my home. This looks delicious. What a nice way to use your leftovers, love the addition of green peas and mushrooms to the dish.

  • Avatar
    May 18, 2019 10:38 pm

    It is time for me to make this delicious pasta from South Tyrol. I can’t wait to visit the area, so maybe cooking this pasta alla pastora at home and often will speed up the process. Yum!

  • Avatar
    May 18, 2019 10:35 pm

    OK, I can see why this pasta can easily become everyone’s favorite – it is easy to make and it must be incredibly delicious! And the fact that I know where to use my leftover Bolognese now makes me really happy!

  • Avatar
    Vidya Narayan
    May 17, 2019 3:25 pm

    The pasta is wholesome and delicious! I loved your details about the entire recipe and nice to see so many pasta recipes on the blog. Cheers!

  • Avatar
    May 16, 2019 1:06 pm

    This is such a great dish, perfect any time of the year.

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    May 16, 2019 12:55 pm

    I often use my leftover bolognese on pizza, but I think I have to try this one next time, because it sounds delicious!

  • Avatar
    Shivani Raja
    May 16, 2019 12:34 pm

    Pasta is my ultimate comfort food – I love the look of this pasta shape!

  • Avatar
    May 16, 2019 12:08 pm

    Pasta is my forever go to dinner.. so many possibilities, I just cant seem to get enough of them! I loved reading about the story of this recipes, thank you for all the tips!

  • Avatar
    May 16, 2019 11:01 am

    I could eat pasta every day!! Yum, I love the bolognese in this recipe. It looks so hearty and tasty and like the best comfort food. Can’t wait to give this a go!

  • Avatar
    Annie @ Annie’s Noms
    May 16, 2019 9:15 am

    I love the look of this! I’m always looking for new pasta dishes to try and this looks delicious! Love all the flavours going on with the bolognese, mushrooms and ham!

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating