Baked Stuffed Paccheri with Sausage and Mushrooms
This Italian baked stuffed paccheri with sausage and mushrooms is made with large pasta tubes called paccheri or schiaffoni. The pasta is stuffed with a delicious creamy porcini, sausage and ricotta filling and then baked in a cheesy béchamel. A fabulous holiday or special occasion menu dish.
- 300 g paccheri (10.5 oz) also called schiaffoni
- 350 g criminis or button mushrooms (12oz) or 150 g (5oz) dried porcini
- 2 Italian pork sausages casings removed
- 1-2 leeks washed, peeled and sliced
- 250 g fresh ricotta (9oz) cow or sheep milk ricotta or a mix
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate (paste)
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 150 g Parmigiano Reggiano (5oz)
- salt for pasta and to taste
- freshly ground black pepper. to taste
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
For homemade bechamel (you can use ready made)
- 500 ml fresh milk (1 pint)
- 50 g all-purpose flour (1.8oz)
- 50 g butter (1.8oz)
- 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated
Make the filling
Put the dried porcini (if using) into a bowl and cover with warm water. Leave for 30 minutes then drain. Keep the water. Peel the garlic. Wash, peel and cut the leek into rounds. Then clean the fresh mushrooms (if using) and remove any dirt with a slightly damp cloth. Cut the mushrooms (porcini or fresh) into small pieces. Remove the casing from the sausage and chop the meat into small pieces.
Put the extra virgin olive oil and the whole garlic into a skillet or deep frying pan. Heat the oil and let the garlic soften slightly. Add the leeks and saute over a low heat for at least 10 minutes. When the leeks are soft, add the sausage meat to the pan. Let it brown over a medium heat, turning it often. Then add the white wine.
Let the alcohol evaporate for a few moments, then add the tomato paste and the mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then add salt and pepper and remove the clove of garlic. If you have used dried porcini you can add a little of the soaking water at this point. When the mixture in the pan is quite dry/reduced, then turn off the heat and let it cool.
Make the béchamel
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the all-purpose flour (sifted). Stir continuously until a paste forms. This is called a roux. Add the milk to the roux a little at a time, stirring continuously, until you get a smooth sauce. Add 1/3 of the grated cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened. Season with a pinch or two of salt, black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. You don’t want the sauce to be too thick so add more milk if necessary.
If using ready made béchamel heat it in a pan and add 1/3 of the grated cheese to it. Turn off once cheese has melted. If too thick add some milk.
Finish the dish
Put the drained ricotta into a bowl, add 1/3 of the Parmigiano cheese and the cooled mixture of leeks, sausage and mushrooms. Stir and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Using an immersion blender, reduce the filling to a pesto type sauce. You can also just chop it into smaller pieces with a sharp knife.
Put a little béchamel sauce into the bottom of a round oven dish. I used a terracotta one. Fill the dish with paccheri tubes standing vertically. Then fill each pasta tube with the filling using a teaspoon or a pastry bag. I found it easier to lift each pasta tube out of the dish, fill from both sides and replace.
Once you have filled all the paccheri, pour the remaining béchamel over the pasta and sprinkle the top with the rest of the parmigiano. Cook the stuffed paccheri in a preheated oven at 180 °c for about 20 minutes + 5 minutes under the grill to brown the surface (if necessary). Remove the stuffed baked paccheri from the oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then serve.
You can use fresh mushrooms, dried porcini or a mixture of both for this recipe.
If you don't have paccheri (schiaffoni) you can use cannelloni (manicotti) but they will need to lie flat instead of standing up.