Today’s recipe is the perfect recipe to make for a Sunday lunch or any special occasion. It does require a little work, but it is definitely worth it and it is a dish that can be prepared in advance and then baked on the day. Needless to say, it is delicious. My 5 year old (probably the fussiest eater EVER) loved it… and she usually does not eat either zucchini or mushrooms… so you get my point. This will please everyone, adults and kids alike and it is very easy to make it into a vegetarian option: just don’t add the Italian speck. I love jumbo pasta: I think it looks so beautiful and you can fill it with any combination of meat, veggies or even fish that you like. It does tickle your creativity, doesn’t it?? These jumbo shells are not hard to make, the only thing I usually always recommend is to be careful of the cooking times, as there’s nothing worse than overcooked pasta and pasta bakes are the easiest ones to “get wrong”, even for experienced Italian cooks. All else is very easy and, did I mention utterly delicious??? Enjoy!
Ingredients (for 4 people):
200 gms – 7 oz. Jumbo Shells (Conchiglioni)
360 gms – 12.5 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 zucchini, rughly chopped
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp onion, chopped
50 gms – 1.75 oz. Italian speck, chopped
100 gms – 3.5 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, thinly grated
400 ml – 14 oz. béchamel sauce (click here for the tutorial)
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Start by making the filling.
Sauté the garlic with 1 of the tbsp of extra virgin olive oil for 1 minute, then add the sliced mushrooms to it. Stir, season with salt and cook for a few minutes until soft. When ready, add the chopped parsley, mix, turn the fire off and keep aside to cool down.
Sauté the chopped onion and Italian speck with the remaining 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped zucchini and mix well. Season with salt and add a couple of tbsp of water. Cook, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the zucchini are soft. Keep aside to cool down.
When the vegetables have cooled down, put them in a mixer with 130 ml – 4.5 oz. of the béchamel sauce (about 1/3 of the total béchamel sauce you have prepared) and blend well. Add half of the thinly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and mix well.
Now that your filling is ready, you can cook the pasta. Do so following the steps on “How to cook pasta “al dente”. Only cook it for about 2/3rd of the time written on the package. This step is really important so that the final result is not overcooked. Remember that the pasta will keep cooking in the oven, so do not worry… it will NOT be raw (it will be al dente).
Drain the Conchiglioni and rinse them under cold water. Put them in a bowl with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. This way they won’t stick and it will make it easier for you to fill them.
Put some of the remaining béchamel sauce at the bottom of an oven proof dish. Then fill the pasta with the prepared filling and put each filled piece in the oven proof dish in a single layer. Cover with the remaining béchamel sauce and finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Broil them in a pre heated oven at 200°C – 390°F for about 10 minutes, or until the top gets golden and slightly crunchy.
TIP: you can prepare this dish ahead of time and broil it before serving it. Keep it in the fridge, but make sure to bring it back to room temperature before putting it into the oven or the inside will remain cold!Pin It