Giant Conchiglioni Pasta with Meat and Tomato

This incredibly simple dish is based on using pre-prepared meatballs that have been cooked in a rich tomato sauce.

When ready to make this dish, simply use the sauce and meatballs you have previously lovingly prepared and stored in your the fridge or freezer and the rest is easy. Even the pasta can be cooked ahead.

Just assemble and bake and let the flavours penetrate the pasta to make a delicious and satisfying meal.

Conchiglioni pasta shells are readily available from Continental grocery stores these are the ones I have used. There are other brands from which to choose.IMG_20180429_112059-Conchiglioni Pasta Shells

The recipe for the meatballs in tomato sauce that can be made ahead can be found on an earlier post at this link:

The ingredients required are listed below. Just go to the link to follow the method.

IMG_20160605_125709-Tomato sauce ingredients


Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tblsp  tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small whole carrot (to add some sweetness and balance any acidity in the tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 large basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 Tblsp chicken  or vegetable stock powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 600 g lean minced beef
  • 1/2  medium onion, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup  fresh mint, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
  • I slice of wholemeal bread torn into pieces and soaked in some milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1 Tblsp grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Plain flour for dusting


  • 1pk Giant Conchilioni pasta  eg. Divella Conchiglioni 87/b or Barilla Jumbo Shells. Available at most Coninental grocers (you will need 3-5 shells for each person)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped into fine cubes
  • Freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • Freshlly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC, Fan Forced
  2. Grease a baking dish that will hold the number of shells you are making. They will be bigger after cooking so allow a little space extra.IMG_20180429_112013-Conchiglioni 2
  3. Wash and cut the zucchini into small diced cubesIMG_20201114_180127-Chopped zucchini
  4. Heat the salted water till water boils
  5. Cook the pasta shells in the boiling water for 20 minutesIMG_20201114_180218-Conchiglioni cooking
  6. Then drain and set aside to coolIMG_20201114_180939-Conchiglioni cooling
  7. Cut each meatball in half. (Use one half for each shell)IMG_20170602_135639-Meatballs
  8. Heat the tomato sauce
  9. Spoon a good layer of tomato sauce across the bottom of your baking dish
  10. Place the shells into the sauce in the baking dish spacing them closely togetherIMG_20201114_181100-Conchilioni in baking dish
  11. Place some of the zucchini cubes into each shellIMG_20201114_181226-Conchiglioni with zucchini
  12. Spoon some tomato sauce over the zucchini
  13. Place half a meatball cut side down into each shell on top of the zucchiniIMG_20201226_160433-Conchiglioni with meatballs
  14. Spoon enough sauce into each shell to cover wellIMG_20201226_160955-Conchiglioni with sauce
  15. Spoon sauce around each shell as well
  16. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the whole filled baking dish
  17. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepperIMG_20201226_161151-Conchiglioni with cheese
  18. Cover the baking dish with foil
  19. Place the baking dish into the pre-heated oven and bake for 40 mins
  20. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
  21. Serve 3-5 shells per person or as desired and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan at serving timeIMG_20201227_120836-3 conchiglioni on a plate
  22. IMG_20201227_121332-Conchiglione with meat cut
    One shell cut open to reveal the meatball.




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