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Baked Conchiglioni with Pumpkin, Sausage & Sage

1 small butternut pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and cut into small cubes

2 tsp olive oil

1 small pack sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped

6-8 good-quality sausages (I used L'authentique Toulouse Sausages available at La Cave)

¼ freshly grated nutmeg

350 g conchiglioni pasta (available at La Cave)

50 g butter

50 g plain flour

850 ml milk

50 g Parmesan, grated, plus extra for sprinkling

125 g mozarella or any hard cheese of your choice for topping

Method:

  1. Place the pumpkin in a microwavable bowl with 1 tbsp water. Cook in the microwave on High for 10 mins or until soft. Alternatively, roast in the oven at 180 degrees.
  2. When pumpkin is cooked, or nearly cooked, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the sage leaves and sizzle for 1 min until they go crispy. Remove the sausages from their skins and divide into small balls about the size of unshelled hazelnuts. Add to the pan and fry until browned. Add half the pumpkin and set aside. (OPTIONAL: you can add some spinach into the mix if you like) Mash the remaining pumpkin with any liquid from the bowl, the nutmeg and seasoning.
  3. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan. Cook the pasta following pack instructions - it can be a little underdone as it will continue cooking in oven.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and stir to a paste. Cook for 1-2 mins, stirring the whole time, then gradually mix in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Add the mashed pumpkin, Parmesan and plenty of seasoning. You can also add some more cheese like comte, gruyere to make it a cheesier sauce depending on your preference.
  5. Add 3-4 tbsp of the sauce to the sausage mix to moisten it a little.
  6. Spread the pumpkin sauce over the base of a large, shallow baking dish. Drain the pasta, but keep a little liquid in the pan to stop the shells from sticking together.
  7. Line up the shells on top of the sauce, pushing them down into the sauce so only the tops of the shells are poking out. Fill each shell with the sausage mixture. Scatter with mozzarella, grate over some extra Parmesan and drizzle with a little truffle oil, if you like. Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown.
  8. Note: You may find it easier to fill the shells with the sausage mixture before putting them into the sauce and baking

 



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