Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage

5 from 3 reviews

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This Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage is a comfort food classic that will have your belly doing the happy dance! This recipe combines sweet ricotta cheese with savory, delicious Italian sausage (wait, we snuck in a little spinach too). This authentic Italian dish will make everyone run to the table.

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This stuffed lumaconi pasta recipe is a great way to vary your weekly pasta meal. Serve it with a green salad and a side of homemade bread.

Why you will love stuffed lumaconi pasta shells

Lumaconi pasta shells are one of my favorite pasta shapes! Okay, I have a lot, but there is something about these giant pasta shells that scream comfort food. It is the perfect kind of pasta for stuffing and baking. The only hard part is deciding on what to stuff it with since there are so many delicious options!

You will love this recipe if you love stuffed shells or types of stuffed pasta. I prefer the stuffed lumaconi pasta shells more! Since they are smaller, you can put a whole one in your mouth! You get the perfect bite of cheesy sausage goodness with the freshness of the tomato sauce.

Read What to Serve with Italian Sausage for more ideas on what to serve with recipes with Italian sausage!

Baked stuffed shells with melted cheese on a plate as a slice.

Simple Ingredients

Start with good ingredients, and you will surely achieve the tastiest stuffed shell meal!

ingredient shot for recipe

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to make Stuffed Lumaconi (step-by-step photos)

This is one of those easy recipes you will come back to repeatedly. Prepare one recipe for Sugo al Pomodoro (you may also use your favorite jarred tomato sauce). Cook and prepare spinach and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

cooking the sausage, onions, and garlic in a skillet

In a large skillet, add a bit of oil and cook the onion for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add sausage and garlic and cook over medium-high heat, until pork is no longer pink; drain any excess liquid. Break up the ground sausage into smaller pieces while cooking. I like to cook until crispy edges. Let cool.

sausage and cheese mixture for filling the pasta shells.

In a large bowl, combine egg, spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, ½ cup Parmigiano or Parmesan cheese, basil, and prepared sausage. Set aside.

cooked pasta shells ready to stuff. Lay flat on a cookie sheet.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta shells* according to package directions until al-dente. Drain and set on a clean tea towel, so they do not stick together as you are stuffing them individually.

homemade tomato sauce at the bottom on the serving dish.

Coat the sides and bottom of a 3-quart baking dish with olive oil. Pour half of the prepared tomato sauce into the baking dish.
Stuff shells with meat and cheese mixture; arrange in the prepared baking dish.

stuffed shells covered in red sauce ready to bake.
Baked stuffed shells with melted cheese.

Pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Hint: Remember that you want al dente pasta for the best results. Read my guide on cooking pasta perfectly every time.

Best Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Shells

My mamma talked about several variations for the perfect flavors in these stuffed shells. We knew that we needed to top it with our delicious homemade tomato sauce before baking.

We concluded with a simple combination of Italian cheese mixed with sweet Italian sausage (the hint of fennel spice in the ground sausage adds so much flavor) is a classic combination that can’t be beaten.

A little cooked spinach adds an earthy tone and packs in the veggies we all need. The homemade tomato sauce clings to the shells and gets baked with an extra layer of cheese for a baked pasta sensation!

I know you will love this recipe as much as we do! It is hearty without leaving you feeling too heavy and uses fresh ingredients to maximize the flavors.

Here is another baked pasta I love this time of year- Creamy Sausage Baked Ziti “White Baked Ziti”.

dry lumachoni pasta shells on a plain background.

You can also use lumaconi shells in traditional pasta recipes and use your favorite sauce to accompany the giant pasta shells. You are looking for a chunky sauce that can sneak its way into the large snail-like shell. Here are a few sauces that I recommend.

The oversized shapes and the rough artisan texture make a perfect way to hold your favorite pasta sauce.

Pasta Variety

While this Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage recipe works well with this fun pasta shape others will work just as well!

  • Giant shells
  • Manicotti
  • Any large pasta shape that is adequate for stuffing

No matter what pasta you use, make sure to follow my guide on how to cook pasta perfectly every time!

Ricotta Cheese

I recommend a good quality ricotta brand that is full fat. If you buy “cheap ricotta” or use part-skim ricotta it will be more watery and grainy and change the consistency of the ricotta. We want the best of the best for this stuffed pasta recipe.

For the mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese see why I recommended grating your own I in this post TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese.

Baked stuffed shells with melted cheese on a plate as a slice.

Where to buy lumaconi pasta

You can buy a bag of lumaconi pasta at most specialty Italian grocery stores. I do know that HemisFares brand that Kroger stores sell, and they are great quality. They are harder to find at local grocery stores in the United States than in Italy, but they are still available. If you want a shortcut and want them delivered to your house, here is the kind I buy from Amazon.

I recommend looking for a bronze mold variety to ensure quality. The slightly rough edges ensure a perfectly al-dente texture and help cling to the sauce in a great way! Read more about why pasta quality matters here- Cheap vs. Expensive Pasta (Why Pasta Quality Matters!).

*contains affiliate links

Variations

Try the original recipe the first time you make this stuffed lumaconi recipe then try a variation the next time you make it!

  • Spicy – add chili flakes to up the spice level in this recipe
  • Sausage – this recipe calls for mild or, sweet Italian sausage you can certainly use spicy Italian sausage if you prefer.
  • Cheese – you can use pecorino romano cheese instead of Parmigiano to mix it up if you like. You can even use a combination of both.
    • You can also use cottage cheese or cream cheese instead of ricotta cheese. It is not traditionally Italian, but I won’t tell anyone!
  • Greens – Instead of spinach, you can use any hearty greens such as kale, chicory, collard greens, or swiss chard.

Try these fillings the next time you make stuffed shells.

If you like this recipe you may also love Orecchiette with Sausage Peppers and Arugula (video), Easy Italian Sausage and Peppers Skillet Recipe, Breakfast Casserole, and Italian Beans and Greens Recipe (Escarole).

Baked stuffed shells with melted cheese on a plate as a slice.

What to serve with Stuffed Shells

This delicious pasta recipe is filling all on its own. All you need is some delicious Italian bread and a simple salad. If you want to go all out- serve these as an appetizer Best Italian Zucchini Fritters (easy recipe)!

If you want to serve an appetizer try: Crispy Calamari Air Fryer Recipe, or King Crab Salad Recipe .

Don’t forget dessert! Try Simple Italian Apple Cake (one bowl)Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe, or BEST Authentic Sicilian Cannoli Recipe.

Make it ahead of time

Make ahead. If you need to make it a day before using, refrigerate the assembled pasta shells before baking. Add about 10 minutes to the baking time if baking a refrigerated pan of pasta shells.

If you assemble and bake the pasta ahead of time, it keeps in the fridge for about three days. To keep it longer, freeze it and reheat it before serving.

stuffed shells covered in red sauce ready to bake. Smaller baking dish to freeze.

Pasta should not be left to sit out in the open uncovered for more than two hours. Store in an airtight container. Make sure to store your leftovers after your meal!

Top tip

  • Don’t overcook your pasta for baked pasta dishes as they will cook a little more in the sauce in the oven.

More baked pasta recipes

Here are more traditional baked pasta recipes you will love.

Baked stuffed lumaconi pasta with melted cheese.

FAQ

What is a substitute for lumaconi pasta?

If you don’t have lumaconi pasta shells you can use any large pasta shells that you can fill. Options include conchiglioni (giant pasta shells) and manicotti.

What does Lumaconi mean in Italian?

Simply translated, the Italian word for snail is lumacha (singular). Lumaconi pasta shells refer to the big or large shell of a snail. Lumaconi, or lumache (plural) in Italian, are big ridged pasta shells shaped like snail shells. Typically, they are stuffed with various fillings and baked with a little sauce, remaining a bit dry or covered in a sauce.

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cover photo for stuffed lumaconi pasta

Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage

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5 from 3 reviews

Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage is a comfort food classic that will have your belly doing the happy dance! This recipe combines sweet ricotta cheese with savory delicious Italian sausage (wait, we snuck in a little spinach too). The result? An authentic Italian dish that will make everyone run to the table.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 package (453 g) Sweet Italian Ground Sausage
  • 1 package (454 g) lumaconi pasta shells
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 recipe Classic Italian Tomato Sauce (Sugo al Pomodoro)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup cooked spinach, liquid removed and finely chopped
  • 1 container (454 g) of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried basil

Instructions

  1. Prepare one recipe for Sugo al Pomodoro (you may also use your favorite jarred tomato sauce). Cook and prepare spinach and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a large skillet, add a bit of oil and cook the onion for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add sausage and garlic and cook over medium-high heat, until pork is no longer pink; drain any excess liquid. Break up the ground sausage into smaller pieces while cooking. I like to cook until crispy edges. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg, spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella, ½ cup Parmigiano or Parmesan cheese, basil, and prepared sausage. Set aside.
  4.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta shells* according to package directions until al-dente. Drain and set on a clean tea towel, so they do not stick together as you are stuffing them individually.
  5. Coat the sides and bottom of a 3-quart baking dish with olive oil. Pour half of the prepared tomato sauce into the baking dish.
  6. Stuff shells with meat and cheese mixture; arrange in the prepared baking dish. Depending on how you arrange the shells you may need to stack them in order to fit them all the baking dish. 
  7. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese. 
  8. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Notes

*make sure to follow my guide on how to cook pasta perfectly every time!

  • Author: Elena
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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4 Comments

  1. What a lovely dish! Pasta al forno is always great, but these little yummy bites are just SO satisfying. For me, the bite-sized pasta and finding the “right” sausage is true the secret to this dish.






    1. I love this pasta shape to create the best individual bites. I agree the quality of ingredients really makes the dish that much better!

  2. I loved the sausage and fresh tomato sauce. The creaminess of the ricotta cheese was perfect. Fun pasta shape to use! Will make again.