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Stuffed Baked Paccheri

This stuffed baked paccheri pasta is a twist on the classic Italian baked pasta dish where large tube pasta is filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese, broccoli and Parmesan then topped with an easy white sauce and baked. It’s pure comfort food!

Baked paccheri in a white baking pan.


 

I have never met an Italian baked pasta dish that I didn’t love! Whether it’s creamy cheesy baked pasta or a traditional lasagna recipe, they are all cozy and delicious.

This stuffed baked paccheri pasta is stuffed with a cheesy broccoli filling then topped with a white sauce and Parmesan cheese and baked until golden and bubbly. It’s so satisfying just like my cheesy broccoli pasta bake

You could add some meat, like I do in this creamy mushroom and ham pasta, but on its own it’s a wonderful meatless meal with home cooked Italian flavor that is so good bite after bite! 

Why You Will Love This Paccheri Recipe

  • Baked pasta perfection: This Italian baked pasta dish is cheesy, delicious, topped with fresh herbs and perfect to serve to family or friends for dinner! 
  • Comfort food: A pasta dinner is pure comfort and this baked paccheri pasta delivers with its flavorful textures and taste. 
  • Traditional: Vertical stuffed paccheri is a classic hearty pasta dish served throughout Italy! It’s extra effort to stuff the pasta but the taste is well worth it! 

Stuffed Paccheri Recipe Ingredients 

  • Paccheri pasta: For the best stuffed baked paccheri pasta, I recommended using the traditional pasta cooked to al dente. 
  • Broccoli filling: Fresh broccoli, olive oil, garlic, whole milk ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. 
  • White pasta sauce: Butter, flour, 2% milk, oregano, basil, fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. 
Ingredients for the recipe.

Substitutions And Variations

  • Sauce type: Instead of a white bechamel style pasta sauce, try a tomato sauce, a tomato cream sauce or bolognese
  • Stuffing: Instead of broccoli, use spinach or stuff the paccheri with sausage and mushrooms.
  • Protein: Add some ground meat like ground beef, sausage, turkey or chicken. There are so many fun variations you can try! 
  • Bake vertically: To bake this to look more like a ‘pasta cake’ for a show stopping presentation, bake pasta standing up in a vertical pattern in a springform pan or deep pie dish.
  • Pasta substitution: While paccheri pasta is best, if you cannot find it, you can use cannelloni, manicotti or large pasta shells after cooking each tube you could cut them in half or leave whole if you wanted.

How To Make Stuffed Baked Paccheri Pasta

To start, cook broccoli until tender in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain but reserve the water.

The cooked broccoli in a white bowl.

In a blender place most of the cooked broccoli, olive oil and garlic and blend until creamy. 

The broccoli and ingredients mixed in the blender before and after creamed.

Finish making the filling by combining the blended broccoli, remaining broccoli, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper then mix together with a fork. 

Mixing the ingredients for the filling.

In the same water as the broccoli, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and wait 5-10 minutes until pasta has cooled enough to be handled.

Cooked paccheri in a silver bowl.

Make the white sauce by melting butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour and salt and mix together with a whisk. Add milk slowly and continue to stir until thickened. Stir in oregano, basil and pepper. Remove from heat.

Making the white sauce in the sauce pan.

Place some white sauce on the bottom of baking dish, then one by one fill the cooked pasta tubes with broccoli ricotta mixture and place standing up vertically in the dish.

Filling the baking dish with some white sauce the filled paccheri.

Cover the filled paccheri with the remaining white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and parsley. 

The Paccheri topped with white sauce and parmesan cheese before baking.

Bake until baked through and cheese has melted. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired before serving.

Baked pasta up close.

Baked Paccheri Pasta Tips

  • Drain ricotta: To avoid an overly ‘wet’ filling, drain your ricotta in a mesh strainer for 30 minutes.
  • Al dente pasta: Since we are baking the pasta, slightly undercooking it is best as it will ‘bake’ more in the oven.
  • Use a pastry bag: To stuff the paccheri pasta easily use a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corned snipped off. It will make filling the pasta so much easier! I recommend separating the paccheri pasta after cooking, and placing onto parchment paper so they don’t stick together, and are ready to fill.
  • Reserve some sauce for serving: Pasta absorbs sauce while it bakes. A little extra sauce on the plate when serving baked pasta is always a great idea! 
  • Serving suggestions: Serve this Italiani pasta recipe with a slice of Italian bread or ricotta Parmesan bread to soak up extra sauce! 

Recipe FAQs

What is Paccheri Pasta

Paccheri pasta is a penne type of pasta and is a traditional Italian pasta with origins in Naples. It looks like a large pasta tube, larger in size than rigatoni but smaller than manicotti. You can purchase it smooth or ribbed, although I prefer ribbed as it holds the sauce better. 

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Certainly, cooked and crumbled sausage,or shredded chicken can be added to the stuffing for a meatier dish.

What Equipment Do I Need To Make Baked Paccheri Pasta?

For this recipe I recommend an 8×6 inch / 20×15 cm baking pan, a pastry bag with round pastry tip, cheese grater, mixing bowl and spatula.

How Long Should I Cook Paccheri?

While each package of paccheri pasta will slightly vary, it should cook in approximately 6-7 minutes. Check the package for cooking time and cook a couple of minutes less.

Paccheri on a white plate with salad and bread.

How To Store Leftover Paccheri?

Store leftover paccheri in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Since this has a creamy cheese sauce, I don’t recommend freezing it. 

What Is The Best Way To Heat Leftover Baked Pasta?

It is best to warm up in the oven at 350°F / 180C until warmed through, although you can microwave it in short increments until warmed through. Sprinkle some freshly grated mozzarella cheese and try broiling it for a fresh baked Italian pasta recipe taste! 

More Baked Pasta Recipes

So if you are looking for something different to make with that head of broccoli, here it is, Stuffed Baked Paccheri Pasta. Buon Appetito!

Paccheri on a white plate.
Baked paccheri in a white baking pan.

Stuffed Baked Paccheri

Rosemary Molloy
Stuffed Baked Paccheri Pasta, a tasty creamy broccoli & ricotta filling topped with a homemade white sauce and Parmesan Cheese. Fast & easy.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 319 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 12-14 ounces paccheri cooked al dente (about 7 ounces dry)

BROCCOLI FILLING

  • pounds broccoli
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese **
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1-2 dashes pepper or to taste

WHITE SAUCE

  • tablespoons butter
  • tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1-2 pinches salt
  • cups milk (2% or whole milk)
  • 1-2 dashes oregano, basil & pepper
  • ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley)

**drain the ricotta in a sieve for 30 minutes.

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C.  

BROCCOLI FILLING

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the broccoli until tender (not mushy). Drain but do not throw out the water.  
  • In a blender place ¾ of the broccoli, olive oil and garlic and blend until creamy.
  • In a medium bowl combine the blended broccoli, the remaining broccoli, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, the ricotta cheese and the salt and the pepper to taste. Mix together with a fork. Set aside.
  • In the same water as the broccoli, cook the pasta al dente approximately 6-7 minutes.  Drain and wait 5-10 minutes until pasta has cooled enough to be handled, do not run under cold water! Toss the pasta with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

WHITE SAUCE

  • In a medium pot over medium heat melt the butter, and then add the flour and the salt, mix together with a whisk,  then add milk slowly and continue to stir until thickened (but not too thick, if it becomes too thick add a little extra milk), stir in oregano, basil and pepper. Remove from heat. 
  • Mix together the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and the parsley.
  • Place some white sauce on the bottom of an 8x 6 inch baking pan, one by one fill the paccheri with filling and place standing up in the dish. Cover the filled paccheri with the remaining white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese an parsley.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

While paccheri pasta is best, if you cannot find it, you can use cannelloni, manicotti or large pasta shells after cooking each tube you could cut them in half or leave whole if you wanted.
While each package of paccheri pasta will slightly vary, it should cook in approximately 6-7 minutes. Check the package for cooking time and cook a couple of minutes less.
Cooked and crumbled sausage,or shredded chicken can be added to the stuffing for a meatier dish.
To stuff the paccheri pasta easily use a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corned snipped off. It will make filling the pasta so much easier! I recommend separating the paccheri pasta after cooking, and placing onto parchment paper so they don’t stick together, and are ready to fill or toss with a teaspoon or so of olive oil to keep them from sticking.
Store leftover paccheri in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Since this has a creamy cheese sauce, I don’t recommend freezing it.
It is best to warm up in the oven at 350F / 180C until warmed through, although you can microwave it in short increments until warmed through. Sprinkle some freshly grated mozzarella cheese and try broiling it for a fresh baked Italian pasta recipe taste! 

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 548mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1100IU | Vitamin C: 101.3mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Updated from November 27, 2017

6 Comments

  1. What an interesting recipe! I’ve never tried paccheri before, and the mixture of ingredients is very unique. The presentation is also visually interesting. I will definitely have to give this one a try.

  2. 4 stars
    Looks like a great recipe that Ill certainly try. Maybe even toss in some cooked pancetta. FYI I think that in step 3 the word ‘cup’ should be eliminated. Meaning it reads 1/4 cup broccoli but I think you mean a quarter of the broccoli?

4.67 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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