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Sausage Lumache Bake

In an excerpt from his entertaining new book, The Story of Pasta, Steven Guarnaccia tells the story of pasta shapes, such as lumache, the basis of this baked pasta and sausage dish.

sausage lumache bake

Sausage lumache bake. Photo: © 2023 by Simon Bajada. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.

This sausage lumache bake recipe comes from The Story of Pasta, out today (October 5) from Phaidon Press. The book, with colorful illustrations and insightful storytelling by artist and author Steven Guarnaccia, is aimed at children, but it's enjoyable for all—especially when it features recipes such as this. "Lumache" means snail in Italian, and this snail shell-shaped pasta serves as the base for a delicious-sounding baked pasta dish, a perfect cook-ahead crowd pleaser. (To read more about the author, check out our feature, Steven Guarnaccia Tells 'The Story of Pasta.')

This is a delicious sausage lumache pasta bake for everyone in the family. It’s also good value and, unlike the snails it was named after, very quick to make. You can use any sausages you like: plain pork, herby, spicy, chicken, beef, or plant-based ones.

Sausage Lumache Bake

Sausage Lumache Bake

Recipe by Heather Thomas
4.0 from 1 vote


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons 2 olive oil

  • 1 1 onion, diced

  • 2 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 14-oz. 2 cans chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons 2 tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon 1 sugar

  • A handful of basil leaves, chopped

  • A few A few drops of balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

  • For the pasta bake
  • 6 6 sausages

  • 1 tablespoon 1 olive oil

  • 12 oz 12 dried lumache

  • 7 oz 7 mini mozzarella balls (see Tip)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 (2 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 (1 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

  • Or try this…
  • Use rigatoni, penne, or conchiglie instead of lumache.

  • Add some red pepper flakes to the tomato sauce.


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Make the tomato sauce: heat the oil in a large skillet over medium- low heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 6–8 minutes, until tender.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and basil. Reduce the heat to low and gently cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little balsamic vinegar.
  • Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, make a slit along the side of each sausage and remove the casings from the meat. Throw out the casings and divide the meat of each sausage into 3 so you have 18 portions. Using your hands, shape each one into a little ball.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the sausage-meat balls and fry, turning occasionally with tongs, for 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the lumachel and cook according to the package directions. Place a colander in the sink, then carefully pour in the cooked pasta to drain.
  • Put the sausage-meat balls and pasta into a large, shallow baking dish and pour the tomato sauce over the top. Gently push the mozzarella balls into the sauce and sprinkle with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling, crispy, and golden brown on top. Serve hot with a green salad.


  • TIP If you don’t have little mozzarella balls, just chop a large ball into pieces.
  • Adapted from The Story of Pasta by Steven Guarnaccia, with recipes by Heather Thomas (Phaidon, US .95, 2023)

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