Lunaconi Stuffed with Meatballs

Lunaconi Gigante stuffed with Meatballs
Lunaconi Gigante stuffed with Meatballs

Lunaconi, or ‘Snail shell’ pasta is traditionally stuffed.  I picked up a pack of the ‘Lunaconi Giganti’ on my way home from Italy.  This recipe stuffs the shells with an Italian meatball and  could be adapted for any large pasta shell, or alternatively you could just use sheets of fresh pasta or lasagne to coat the meatballs in.

6 stuffed shells with a little salad makes a good portion size

Serves 4

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • 2-3 slices stale bread
  • Handful of Fresh Oregano leaves, or 1 tsp dried
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 5 tbsp Milk
  • 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 450g Beef Mince
  • 24 Lunaconi Gigante shells
  • 300ml Marinara Sauce
  • more Parmesan


  • Blitz the bread into a food process to get fine crumbs
  • Add the herbs, Parmesan, salt & pepper and blitz again
  • Tip the bread mix into a bowl and add milk.  Mix well
  • Heat half the oil in a frying pan and sauté off the onion and garlic until golden
  • Stir the cooked onion into to the bread mixture and mix well
  • Add the meat to the bowl and work into the bread mixture with your hands until you have a even consitency
  • Take about a tablespoon of the meat mixture and form into a ball.  This will be less messy if your hands are wet.  The meatballs need to be small enough to fill the past shells – I made around 24 meatballs with this recipe
  • Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and seal the meatballs, a few at a time. After around 5 minutes, they should be brown on 2-3 sides and almost fully cooked
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to instructions.  Do not fully cook – it should be al dente, but they will receive a little baking to finish them off, so better under than over cooked.  Carefully refresh the pasta in cold water and drain
  • Take each shell in turn and place a meatball inside.  Place open side up ion a baking tray or Pyrex dish.  Repeat until all pasta & meatballs are used
  • Place a teaspoon of marinara sauce into each shell, then pour the remaining sauce over the top.  Sprinkle the Parmesan and top with foil
  • Bake in a preheated oven, 180ºC, for 20 minutes.  After 15 minutes remove the foil to allow the cheese to brown
  • Serve with a green salad

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