Gino's conchiglioni pasta bake
Gino's here with a D'Acampo family favourite! Whether you're a meat eater or a veggie, with a few small tweaks you'll have both bases covered.
24 conchiglioni (large pasta shells)
For the béchamel sauce
40g salted butter40g plain flour400ml full fat milkPinch freshly grated nutmeg
For the courgette filling
6 tablespoons olive oil3 courgettes, medium, cut into 5mm cubes1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped6 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
For the beef filling
1 tbsp salted butter4 tbsp olive oil1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped500g minced beef1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes4 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped, plus extra for garnish80g pecorino cheese, freshly gratedSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta shells in a large pan of boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and place the shells upside down in a single layer on a clean tea towel to dry.
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes or until pale golden, stirring continuously. Add the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly and waiting for it to be incorporated before adding more. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5–10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened and smooth. Add the nutmeg and season. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
To prepare the courgette filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes, onion and sage and sprinkle over 2 pinches of salt. Fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Once the courgettes have cooled down, pour half of the béchamel sauce in the pan and mix all together. Set aside.
To prepare the meat sauce, melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for 2 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add in the minced beef with the rosemary and cook, stirring continuously, until the meat has begun to crumble. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes until the meat has browned. Set aside to cool. Once the meat has cooled down, pour half of the béchamel sauce in the pan and mix all together. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
Tip the tomatoes into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the parsley and seasoning. Simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the sauce and spread the rest over the bottom of a baking dish measuring about 25 x 25cm.
Using a tablespoon, fill the pasta shells with your chosen mixture. Lay the shells in a single layer in the dish, stuffed-side up and not touching. Spoon the remaining béchamel over each shell. Cover with foil and bake for 15–20 minutes. Sprinkle with the pecorino and bake uncovered for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Let rest for 3 minutes. Garnish with parsley or basiland pepper. To serve, spoon some of the reserved sauce on each plate and lay 5 shells on top.