Halloween may be over but I’d love to have pumpkin all year round. I can roast, steam, fry them, make pies, soups, scones, cakes, and so on.

One of my favourite pumpkin dishes is roast pumpkin mixed with ricotta, then stuffed in conchiglione (seashell-shaped pasta, stuffable) then baked with tomato pasta sauce and cheese. I have made this a number of times and absolutely adored them every time.

The dish is actually a pretty simple dish to make, but requires around 45 minutes to prepare and 45 + 30 minutes in the oven. So I normally make this in the weekend. Sometimes I make the roast pumpkin mash the night before (that’s just simply cut the pumpkin and chuck them into the oven and then mash them) – see tips below. For the tomato sauce, I simply use the store-bought tomato pasta sauce. Alternatively, you can make them from fresh or canned tomatoes; cooked with garlic, dry white wine or your favourite herbs to make the tomato pasta sauce.

This is another one of my favourite vegetarian meals.

Conchiglione stuffed with roast pumpkin and ricotta

(from ‘Pasta’ Murdoch Books Test Kitchen, 2008)

(serves 4)

  • 1 kg pumpkin, cut into large wedges. I used Jap pumpkin
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 10 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 500 gr ricotta cheese
  • 20 gr finely shredded flat-leaf parsley. Or you can use basil.
  • 750 ml bottled tomato pasta sauce
  • 56 conchiglione or 32 giant conchiglione. I used the giant ones.
  • 100 gr grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients for the stuffed seashell pasta

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the pumpkin on a baking paper on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the garlic and bake for 15 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool slightly.

Pumpkin wedges ready to roast

Pumpkin and garlic after roasting

Step 2. Peel and mash the pumpkin and garlic. Mix with ricotta and half the parsley and season to taste.

The roast pumpkin and garlic mash can be prepared a day ahead and place them in the fridge (let the mash cool first). Mix with the ricotta and parsley when you are about to cook them.

Pumpkin and garlic mash

Pumpkin and garlic mash mixed with ricotta and parsley

Step 3. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well. Lay out on a tea towel to dry, then fill with the pumpkin mixture. Spread any remaining filling in a large ovenproof dish, top with shells and pour on the sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan.

After this, you can bake straight away or you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and keep the dish in the fridge (for up to 2 days). Bake the dish when you want to serve them.

Stuffing the seashell pasta with pumpkin mixture

Arrange the shells in a baking dish, topped with the tomato sauce and cheese

Step 4. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 200ºC oven (or 30 minutes for the giant shells).  Serve with greens.

Pasta dish after baking

Conchiglione stuffed with roast pumpkin and ricotta