top view of a pan with stuffed pasta shells bake

Stuffed pasta shells bake

The ultimate comfort food- stuffed pasta shells with veggie bolognese bake!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bolognese, comfort food, pasta bake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 250 g large pasta shells
  • 200 g mascarpone
  • 250 g balls mozzarella drained and finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil roughly chopped, plus few leaves to serve
  • 3 medium garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tbsp parmesan (optional)

For the bolognese

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely sliced
  • 1 medium celery stick finely diced
  • 1 large carrot finely diced
  • 400 g Quorn mince see notes for options
  • 2 medium garlic cloves crushed
  • 250 ml red wine or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 small bay leaves
  • 800 g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. To make bolognese, heat the oil in a wide, ovenproof pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion, celery and carrot with some seasoning for 20 minutes until soft.

  2. Add Quorn (or mince, or mushrooms and lentils mix) and fry stirring regularly for 5- 8 minutes. Add garlic, wine or vegetable stock, tomato puree, bay leaves and canned tomatoes with a canful of water. Simmer for an hour, until tomatoes have broken down. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar.

  3. Tip the pasta shells into a large, heatproof bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pour over a kettle of boiled water. Cover and leave to soften for 15 minutes. The shells need to retain some of their firmness so you can fill them up.

  4. Heat the oven to 200C /180C fan and drain the pasta. In a medium bowl, mash together the cheeses, chopped basil, garlic and a pinch of black pepper. Bolognese should be ready now, remove it from the heat. Don't worry if it looks a bit wetter than you'd like. The pasta shells will absorb the liquid as they bake.

  5. Using a teaspoon, fill the pasta shells with cheese mixture, pressing it gently with your index finger. Nestle the shells into the sauce, filled side up. Bake for 20- 30 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling and the pasta is tender. Grate some parmesan over the finished dish and add some basil leaves on top. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can use Quorn (meat substitute) or mince meat in your bolognese sauce.

If you don't have an access to Quorn, use diced mixed mushrooms and a can of cooked, green lentils. 

Cheeses can easily be swapped for their vegetarian or vegan versions.

You can halve this recipe to make it for 2-3 people.