veggie giant pasta bake




Just the thing for a dinner with friends to get out of the cold (or crazily mild yet windy weather, depending on where you are and how reasonably seasonal it’s being!). These giant shells are so much easier to stuff than an equivalent cannelloni, although either cannelloni or just lasagne sheets would be an option. Can be made assembled a day in advance and then baked as necessary. Unfortunately eaten too quickly to get a picture of the eventual result, but here is it before it had another layer of white sauce poured on it and was then topped with cheese. I used hard pasta which meant it was easier to fill.

2015-12-15 18.42.35

(serves 5-6)

red sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp italian / mixed herbs
1 vegetable stock cube
2x 400g chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
Slosh of red wine (which you’ll just have to drink with the pasta… what a shame)
2 pods of frozen spinach (/ handful fresh)
400g pinto or borlotti beans

  1. Heat the oil and cook the onions, then add the carrot, pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes til soft.
  2. Add the herbs and stir, then add the tomatoes, stock cube (crumbled), 300 or so ml of water, and the wine. Stir and then simmer for up to a couple of hours, but at least 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and spinach and stir until spinach is cooked.
  4. Pulse with a stick blender a few times (keep some chunks)

white sauce

c. 2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
500ml milk
100g grated cheddar

  1. Melt the butter then stir in the flour.
  2. Add milk little at a time, stirring after each addition so that it doesn’t get lumpy but thickens nicely.
  3. Stir in cheese then season to taste.


400g giant pasta shells (conchiglioni)
2 tbsp mixed seeds
2 tbsp vegetarian parmesan

  1. Grease a lasagne dish.
  2. Fill each shell with a spoonful of red sauce then arrange artfully in the tray.
  3. When you have done the first layer, pour over some of the white sauce then place the next layer on top. Cover again with white sauce, then top with cheese and seeds.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180oC and serve with salad (and maybe some garlic bread)

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