Eggplant & Béchamel Conchiglioni

Eggplant conchiglioni with ingredients
Recipe for my eggplant stuffed conchiglioni (large pasta shells) baked with béchamel, tomato sauce & Parmesan. This is like a vegetarian lasagne minus the lasagne sheets. That is amore. 


  • 250g conchiglioni (large pasta shells - sold at Coles)
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

For the tomato sauce:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ bunch basil, leaves picked
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt flakes

For the eggplant stuffing:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • ½ bunch oregano, leaves picked
  • 1 eggplant, finely diced
  • 100g baby spinach, chopped

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g flour
  • 600ml whole milk
  • Pinch finely grated nutmeg
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

Serves 4


Prepare your tomato sauce:

  1. Heat olive oil over low heat in a large pan.
  2. Add garlic and 5 large basil leaves and slowly simmer until garlic is very lightly golden (around 10 minutes).
  3. Remove garlic and basil from oil, reserve.
  4. Add onions to oil and sweat, still on low heat, until translucent (around 5 minutes).
  5. Add tinned tomatoes, sugar, chilli flakes (optional), salt, a few fresh basil leaves, and the garlic and basil from earlier.
  6. Cook on low for 45 minutes - 1 hour, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. It’s ready when the sauce has thickened, and tomatoes have broken down into the sauce.

Prepare your eggplant stuffing:

  1. Heat olive oil over low heat in a large pan.
  2. Add onions and oregano to oil and sweat, until onions are translucent (around 5 minutes).
  3. Add finely diced eggplant and sauté, stirring, until soft (5-10 minutes).
  4. Turn off the heat and stir through baby spinach.

Prepare béchamel sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook a little until it is a sandy colour and smells biscuity.
  2. Slowly add milk, whisking vigorously to ensure the sauce is smooth.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for around 5 more minutes, stirring throughout, until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Stir through nutmeg and Parmesan, and season to taste.
  5. Roughly incorporate half of béchamel sauce and eggplant stuffing.
  6. Cover remaining sauce with a lid to prevent a skin forming.

For the pasta and assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 185°c.
  2. Cook pasta in salty water until very al dente (minus about 3 minutes from the packet instructions cooking time).
  3. Spoon a thick layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
  4. Spoon eggplant stuffing into each conchiglioni shell, then layer on top of tomato sauce.
  5. Cover with more tomato sauce, then béchamel sauce, then top with Parmesan.
  6. Cook in oven for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the Parmesan is golden.
  7. Serve topped with fresh basil.

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