Skip to main content


Lumaconi, shaped like large snail shells, are ideal for stuffing. Look out for this shape at a supermarket that has a well-stocked dried pasta aisle, otherwise you might find it at a good deli. Baked pastas are always something special when the weather is colder. They’re also good to wrap up in foil to take round to family or friends when there’s a large party happening, a baked pasta dish is always a hit.

Subscribe to my free newsletter to see the full recipe.

I won’t bombard you – and I will never share your address or use it for any other contact.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the garlic and fry on a low heat till fragrant, about 1–2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Simmer on a low heat for 30–45 minutes, just keeping an eye while the sauce bubbles in the background. Once the sauce is cooked transfer it to a baking dish approximately 18 x 26cm/7 x 10in.

Place the washed spinach leaves in a medium pan (the water clinging to the spinach will stop the wilting leaves from sticking to the pan base). Put on the lid and cook on a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until soft. Drain any moisture left in the pan then finely chop the spinach and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients for the filling, mixing everything together well, before transferring to a large piping bag (if you don’t have one, just leave the mixture in the bowl).

Check the cooking instructions on the packet of lumaconi. If it suggests cooking for 10–12 minutes, then cook it for 8–10 minutes, making sure the pasta is al dente (remember it’s going to be baked as well, so it shouldn’t be soft). Once al dente, transfer straightaway to a bowl of iced cold water to prevent the pasta from cooking any further.

Drain the pasta. Use the piping bag to stuff each one with the ricotta mixture (if you don’t have a piping bag just use a teaspoon, it will be a bit fiddly but you’ll get there in the end). Place each stuffed shape into the tomato sauce until all the filling is finished. If you have any empty shells left, then simply tuck them in around the filled shapes so they don’t go to waste.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Place an ovenproof dish half-filled with boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven – this creates steam, which will crisp the top of the bake – but just be careful, you don’t want scalding steam in your face when you open the oven door! Place the lumaconi on the upper shelf and bake for 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the pasta edges are golden.

Place the bake on the table along with a wedge of Parmesan and a cheese grater so that everyone can help themselves. I like to serve this with sautéed broccoli or a fresh green salad on the side.