Baked Conchiglioni

The folks on my father’s side of the family are Sicilian. I haven’t visited Sicily yet, but I’ve always loved Sicilian ingredients, and I was certainly drawn to this cookbook, by Ben Tish, published in 2021.

From the author: “As with many Sicilian recipes these stuffed pasta shells are born from need and ingenuity, making the best use of leftovers – pasta in this case. The resulting dish has become something much more than the sum of its parts and is a real showstopper. Conchiglioni is the most popular stuffing pasta in Sicily…”

As a lover of baked pasta dishes, Baked Conchiglioni with Pumpkin and Rosemary popped out at me.

From Chef Tish: “Although there are several elements to this recipe it’s easy to prepare. I’ve taken it up a notch with the addition of marscarpone in the sauce and an indulgent rosemary and lemon spiked brown butter to finish.”

I had never before experienced the pasta called conchiglioni. Fabulously large pasta, meant for filling.

Baked Conchiglioni with Pumpkin and Rosemary

About 1 kg dense-fleshed pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice
Olive oil
A handful of baby spinach, chopped
400g dried large conchiglioni
250g butter
150g flour
700ml full-fat milk
125g marscarpone
80g fontina cheese, finely grated
4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Spread the pumpkin dice on a roasting tray, season well, and drizzle with oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and has started to brown.

Remove from the oven and crush with the back of a wooden spoon or a fork, then stir in the chopped baby spinach to wilt in the residual heat. Reserve. Leave oven on.

While the pumpkin is cooking, partly cook the pasta in boiled salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water to stop any further cooking. Drain again.

Make the bechamel by melting 125g of butter in a saucepan and stirring in the flour. Turn up the heat and cook until this roux bubbles and turns a sandy color. Now gradually whisk in the milk, still on the heat, and continue to whisk until the milk is fully incorporated and the sauce is smooth and thick but pourable.

Stir in the mascarpone and half the fontina and season to taste. Spoon the bechamel into a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Divide the pumpkin mix among the pasta shells and push it in – it’s easiest to use your finger. You should over-stuff them so you can see plenty of filling.

Press the pasta shells into the bechamel in rows. Drizzle with more oil, then bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining fontina. Place back in the oven and bake until the shells are fully coked and the top is golden brown.

While the pasta is baking, heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it turns a nut brown or “noisette.” Add the rosemary leaves, lemon juice and seasoning.

Remove the pasta bake from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before the drizzling on the brown rosemary butter.

Serve.

It’s fabulous with a green salad, or just about any green vegetable.

I served the baked pasta as is. It’s so decadent I just wanted it by itself. Delicious.

And the rosemary butter was fantastic! I can’t say the same for the lemon element. It was just weird, and almost ruined this luscious baked pasta. However, I’m not sold on lemon/citrus as much as many people.

By Published On: March 31st, 202261 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

61 Comments

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes March 31, 2022 at 7:18 AM - Reply

    I am a huge fan of butternut/pumpkin. This looks like a perfectly comforting and delicious meal to share with friends and family.

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 8:10 AM - Reply

      Yes – it’s not really pretty, but the deliciousness makes you forget that it looks like a casserole!

  2. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen March 31, 2022 at 7:42 AM - Reply

    What an unusual but delightful dish Mimi! I’ve never seen this type of pasta before and I’m sure I’d have to order it online. The technique of putting the bechamel on the bottom of the pan and nestling the pasta is is really fun! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 8:09 AM - Reply

      Yes, I liked that too. Really unique and terribly delicious!

  3. Anonymous March 31, 2022 at 8:37 AM - Reply

    I use this pasta to make ‘stuffed shells’ quite often. This dish looks and sounds delicious. I will have to give it a try.

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 9:44 AM - Reply

      See what you think about the lemon at the end. It did nothing for me.

  4. Kristy Murray, Linger March 31, 2022 at 9:22 AM - Reply

    I’m so jealous of your collection of cookbooks. You are always making the most interesting and flavorful dishes. And of course this one looks amazing as well. I’ve never even heard of conchiglioni. I must find this wonderful pasta. Thanks for sharing Mimi!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 9:43 AM - Reply

      Well, I hadn’t either, which is exactly why I love cookbooks! And blogs like yours, of course!

  5. Abbe@This is How I Cook March 31, 2022 at 10:11 AM - Reply

    Totally indulgent and totally yummy! No go to Sicily and show them how to do it!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 2:17 PM - Reply

      Ha! I hope we get to Sicily soon…

  6. Jeff the Chef March 31, 2022 at 10:15 AM - Reply

    Oh, bring it on! This sounds absolutely wonderful!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 2:16 PM - Reply

      Thanks Jeff! There’s just something about baked pasta, especially when it’s sitting on top of bechamel!

  7. Alex March 31, 2022 at 11:50 AM - Reply

    Good recipe, Mimi! I recently saw these shells with a different stuffing, but this time I will see your post as a sign. Make. These. Shells. :-)

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 2:16 PM - Reply

      Hahahaha! Plus, they are easy to fill!

  8. Jean | Delightful Repast March 31, 2022 at 1:39 PM - Reply

    Mimi, I love conchiglioni (jumbo shells)! And this is a different stuffing from my usual, and I can’t wait to try it! Beautiful! We are big fans of citrus, but I don’t think it would add anything to this dish. It has enough going on without adding another assertive note.

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 2:16 PM - Reply

      I completely agree with you Jean. The lemon didn’t work, and otherwise it’s truly a fabulous dish! I’m glad I discovered these jumbo shells!

  9. Katherine | Love In My Oven March 31, 2022 at 2:39 PM - Reply

    Ive been craving cozy and comforting pasta dishes. This is like a grown-up casserole! The sounds of that butter sounds heavenly too, I”m sure your kitchen smelled wonderful!

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 6:25 PM - Reply

      Filled pasta shells sitting in bechamel and sprinkled with cheese is certainly a lovely grown-up casserole!!!

  10. Raymund March 31, 2022 at 6:20 PM - Reply

    That looks amazing Mimi, I so love everything on that dish, creamy, cheesy, mildly sweet and savory, now I have to find that Conchiglioni or I will just make it at home

    • Chef Mimi March 31, 2022 at 6:24 PM - Reply

      It’s really good, warming, and satisfying. But I really love baked pasta dishes. It’s the closest I come to a casserole!!!

  11. Marie Roffey March 31, 2022 at 7:21 PM - Reply

    Love all these flavours, Mimi. This is truly a comforting dish.

    • Chef Mimi April 1, 2022 at 7:25 AM - Reply

      It was a delight. Definitely decadent!

  12. Sherry M April 1, 2022 at 2:09 AM - Reply

    I’m not a pasta eater, but this does look very tasty and filling!

    • Chef Mimi April 1, 2022 at 7:24 AM - Reply

      Tasty and filling! Yes indeed!

  13. Aletta - nowathome April 1, 2022 at 2:25 AM - Reply

    Looks absolutely amazing!

    • Chef Mimi April 1, 2022 at 7:24 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It was definitely wonderful!!!

  14. David @ Spiced April 1, 2022 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    Laura’s family traces back to Sicily as well. We haven’t visited yet, but it is on our list! I do love stuffed pasta, and the flavors here sound fantastic…the ultimate comfort food!

    • Chef Mimi April 1, 2022 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      With all of that bechamel, it’s really comforting! Can’t wait to get to Sicily…

  15. Anonymous April 2, 2022 at 4:32 AM - Reply

    Oh my… I’ve only just had breakfast, but if you put these conchiglioni before me now, I would devour them :-)

    • Anonymous April 2, 2022 at 7:49 AM - Reply

      Yes. I completely understand!

  16. Ann Coleman April 2, 2022 at 8:18 AM - Reply

    I’ve never seen conchiglioni before, but it sure looks easy to use. I tried stuffing manicotti once and they kept ripping. And this recipe looks wonderful, although I’d leave off the brown butter sauce, simply because I don’t like butter.

    • Chef Mimi April 2, 2022 at 9:11 AM - Reply

      Yes, very easy. Just use a spoon – no piping!

  17. No one would even miss the meat Mimi, these look wonderful. It’s definitely a dish I would serve to company (otherwise I suspect I would eat the entire dish myself). This is a ‘saver’. Thank you.

  18. I’m not sure it needs the brown butter topping, I might mix a little rosemary in with the filling. And I agree, the lemon is just weird.

    • Chef Mimi April 3, 2022 at 7:34 AM - Reply

      The lemon was definitely weird. I wanted to respect the recipe and my Sicilian heritage!!! Some Italian sausage would be good in the filling, but the pumpkin was wonderful.

  19. Frank Fariello April 3, 2022 at 7:11 AM - Reply

    Look very yummy, Mimi. Funnily enough I’ve never stuffed conchigioni with anything other than the usual ricotta or ricotta and spinach. How very boring I am… And as it happens I have an unused box of conchiglioni *and* a kabocha squash that needs cooking, so… I think I know what’s for dinner tonight!

  20. Frank Fariello April 3, 2022 at 7:12 AM - Reply

    PS: Congrats on the new look for your blog. Very nice. Reminds me I’m in desperate need of a refresh. Do tell me who you used!

    • Chef Mimi April 3, 2022 at 7:36 AM - Reply

      I used someone local. The problem with mine is that I learned that even though WP supplies themes, they don’t bother updating them, so I gradually lost control on major things like even fonts, plus it started to not work properly. Thanks for noticing! Your blog is great!

  21. David Scott Allen April 3, 2022 at 9:12 AM - Reply

    Whoa! I need to make this! Stuffed shells, with all variety of fillings, were omnipresent in my aunt’s in-laws home — they were from Sicily. But never have I had this filling. That will be remedied soon. Thanks, Mimi — for the recipe and book info (which I just ordered!).

    • Chef Mimi April 3, 2022 at 11:32 AM - Reply

      I bookmarked a LOT of recipes in Sicilia!

  22. Karen (Back Road Journal) April 3, 2022 at 11:53 AM - Reply

    I love conchiglioni and your version sounds absolutely delicious. Your new look is so up to date and modern looking, it is terrific❣️

    • Chef Mimi April 3, 2022 at 3:47 PM - Reply

      Aw thanks. I liked the other one but it turns out WP doesn’t update themes, so they eventually don’t work. I needed something that I could control!

  23. neil@neilshealthymeals.com April 4, 2022 at 8:05 AM - Reply

    Oh I love the filling in these baked conchiglioni shells Mimi. Drooling here!

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2022 at 10:07 AM - Reply

      The whole dish was exquisite!

  24. Eva Taylor April 4, 2022 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    Years ago, I bought a gorgeous Italian ceramic jar with conchiglioni in it, I really just wanted the jar! Wish I’d had this recipe back then.

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2022 at 10:08 AM - Reply

      Ha! Well, you have it now!

  25. Carrie Tyler April 4, 2022 at 9:51 AM - Reply

    This looks delicious! I mean, you just cannot go wrong with stuffed pasta, but your Pumpkin and Rosemary stuffing is amazing! So much flavor.

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2022 at 10:09 AM - Reply

      It was really wonderful. But I think I could eat just about anything sitting on a bed of bechamel!

  26. Valentina April 4, 2022 at 6:56 PM - Reply

    Beautiful photos, Mimi! And I LOVE the “new look” of your site. This recipe is a casserole of delicious comfort. I love all of the warm flavors and soft textures. Wish it was going to my table for dinner tonight. (Love the cover of the cookbook too – I might have a plate that looks similar.) :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi April 4, 2022 at 7:10 PM - Reply

      Oooh dishes like that would be gorgeous!!! And thanks. Things stopped working within WP so I had to get professional help!!!

  27. nancyc April 4, 2022 at 8:07 PM - Reply

    Wow! This dish looks so delicious and sounds wonderful! :)

    • Chef Mimi April 5, 2022 at 2:47 PM - Reply

      And for a filled pasta dish, it was very easy I’ll be making it again!

  28. In Good Flavor April 5, 2022 at 1:34 PM - Reply

    Such a wonderful pasta dish!! I’m keeping this one in mind when I’m cooking for my vegetarian daughter. She would love it!

    • Chef Mimi April 5, 2022 at 2:48 PM - Reply

      I have one of those as well! And this would be great on the Thanksgiving table…

  29. terrie gura April 5, 2022 at 7:40 PM - Reply

    I’m not kidding, I could smell that browned butter! Your pictures are amazing, as usual. I have seen the pasta shells before but never as large as these you’ve used. It sounds exquisite and so, so comforting! Makes me hope for one more blast of cold weather! I’m thinking someone decided that a squeeze of lemon at the end would balance the richness, but I’m with you—that’s what salads are for! 😁

    • Chef Mimi April 6, 2022 at 7:46 AM - Reply

      It’s such a great dish, and I honestly didn’t think about it being meatless. Very hearty and so satisfying.

  30. StefanGourmet April 22, 2022 at 1:14 AM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, baked conchiglioni are Sicilian, but bechamel, fontina, and squash are all North Italy. This looks great though. In Sicily these would be stuffed with a meat ragù or eggplant and baked in a tomato sauce. With your Sicilian roots you should really visit Sicily!

    • Chef Mimi April 22, 2022 at 10:43 PM - Reply

      We will get there. We’re about to visit many countries in Africa that we haven’t been to. The pandemic set us back!

  31. StefanGourmet April 22, 2022 at 1:16 AM - Reply

    PS Agree the citrus is out of place.

    • Chef Mimi April 22, 2022 at 10:43 PM - Reply

      Yes!

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