Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut Squash and Chestnuts Recipe

I will own up to it right then and there: I am an inveterate collector of pasta. Guilty as charged.

In fine food shops and Italian markets, I love to study the different shapes and imagine which will lend themselves to smooth sauces or chunky ones. I love their names (rooster’s crests, radiators, little ears, thimbles), the traditional packaging, and the fact that, for just a few euros, I can treat myself to a package of something novel — not to mention the promise of an easy meal.

Before I had children, I had to rein in my purchases, as my kitchen cabinets overflowed faster that Maxence and I actually ate pasta. But with two young boys who would eat it at every meal if I let them — their dream breakfast is cold leftover pasta, a recessive trait for sure — I am free to buy whatever I please, knowing I will easily find a use for it.

And I recently fell hard for a package of lumaconi, those large snail-shaped pasta sold in big bulging packages that scream “Buy me, I’m special!”

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts - Ingredients

Lumaconi are the kind of pasta whose life pursuit is to be stuffed with a sauce and gratinéed in the oven for an immensely satisfying vegetarian main dish, or a festive side to a roast bird. And as the holidays approach, I thought I would suggest a simple, seasonal sauce of roasted butternut squash and chestnuts.

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts - Stuffing

You sprinkle the whole thing with cheese so it will brown nicely…

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts - Sprinkling

… and you squeeze lemon juice over the top just before serving. You end up with a golden and appetizing dish that boasts al dente pasta, a silky sauce that sticks to the ribbed sides of the lumaconi, little pockets of melty cheese with chestnut bits, and a top layer that is toasted and crunchy and irresistible. (Keep an eye on the little cousins who may be tempted to eat just the top.)

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts - Closeup

It’s a recipe that is wowing but easy to make — the technique is straightforward, and many of the steps can be made in advance — and easy to live with — it’s lovely at room temperature, and almost tastes better reheated.

Grating Cheese

Grating cheese with a microplane zester.

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Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 4.

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts Recipe


  • 1 small butternut squash or other firm-flesh winter squash, about 800 grams (1 3/4 pounds), seeds and fibers removed, flesh cubed (no need to peel if organic)
  • Olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) cooked peeled chestnuts from a jar, chopped
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 organic lemon
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 250 grams (9 ounces) uncooked lumaconi (large snail-shaped pasta, such as these)
  • 150 grams (1 1/2 cups) freshly grated cheese, such as Comté or Parmesan


    First, prepare the filling.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the butternut in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Mix with your hands to coat well.
  3. Insert in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
  4. Process in a blender or food mill until smooth. This can be prepared up to a day ahead, or even frozen. Thaw before using.
  5. Measure 500 grams (2 cups) of the butternut purée into a medium mixing bowl (reserve the remaining purée for another use). Add the chestnuts, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grate the zest of the lemon finely into the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Next, cook the pasta.
  7. In a large saucepan, bring water to the boil with some coarse salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the lumaconi and boil until just shy of al dente, about 10 minutes.
  8. Drain, return to the saucepan, drizzle with olive oil, and shake to coat so they won't stick to one another as you work.
  9. Assemble and bake.
  10. Grease a round 25-cm (10-inch) baking dish or cast-iron pan with olive oil.
  11. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C (425°F).
  12. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each lumaconi, and arrange in the prepared dish, snugly but in a single layer. When you're done, dot the top of the lumaconi with any remaining sauce.
  13. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is browned in places.
  14. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top and serve, with a lightly dressed green salad, or as a side to roast chicken.


  • If you have access to high-quality, ready-made puréed winter squash, you can use that in a pinch.
  • This recipe can be made with other kinds of large, stuffable pasta, such as tube pasta or conchiglioni.

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts


    looking awesome .. i will try this ..

  • Rebeca

    Guilty as well. I just can’t resist trying new shapes. I actually have that same pasta (love Garofalo!) waiting to be used. I’ll take it as a sign. :)

    • Oh for sure, Rebeca! The universe is speaking to you loud and clear! :)

      • Rebeca

        So loud and clear that I made it yesterday! We had two neighbours over for lunch and we all loved it. The squash and the chestnuts make such a lovely, delicious combo. It felt like a pretty fancy lunch for a Wednesday.

  • Laura Cole

    I also love to buy new pasta shapes. And one of my two daughters carries the trait for eating leftover pasta for breakfast as well. Thank you for sharing this recipe and your intro story! I pinned the recipe already and hope to make it soon.

    • Thank you Laura! How old are your girls?

      • Laura Cole

        Isabelle is 13, and Morgandy is 10. Morgandy is my pasta girl.

        • What pretty names! Is Morgandy a family name? It’s the first time I hear it.

          • Laura Cole

            Thank you! It’s a variation on a Welsh family name. My great grandfather was Brady Morgan. Morgandy is the feminine version of Morgan.

            And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and recipes on your blog. I love to follow your posts to learn little tidbits about Paris and France.

  • Kyle Smith

    Bonsoir Clotilde, just arrived at our house in pays de Loire and saw this luscious recipe. Used poitmoiron instead as no butternut squash available. Simply delish with some roasted chicken.


  • rachelsloan79

    I made this yesterday and it is the most delicious pasta dish I’ve made in ages – thank you! I used potimarron as that was what I had on hand (worked beautifully) and conchiglioni as there were no lumaconi to be found at my supermarket… 250g turned out to be slightly too much for the amount of filling and my pan, so yes, you guessed it, I found myself eating the five or so extra shells lukewarm and unfilled after I put the pan in the oven, which I’m sure your sons would have appreciated ;)

    • Wow, no small compliment, Rachel, especially since I assume vegetarians make a lot of pasta. :D

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