This is a very special recipe for me as it graces the cover of my Cooking With Columbo cookbook.

Plus I made a demo video…

So here is the recipe and there follows some notes on how I tackled it.

I thought I would have a problem finding jumbo pasta shells here in Londinium (remember the lack of macaroni?), but a little bit of google action helped me out. Tesco’s Finest Conchiglioni Rigati.

IMG_6453I blame Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 for the wine…

You know when something is extremely PLEASING for no apparent reason? Such it is with jumbo pasta shells. There was no room for them in my food cupboard, so they have been languishing next to the kitchen record player for ages. I’ve lost count of the people who have noticed them and registered somehow, that they like the look of them. The last time Mr R was at my place, he just pointed at them. As if to say, “they are still there, when am I getting some?”

Conchiglioni_rigatiI did not take this beautiful picture.  Thanks Wikimedia Commons.

Well these were on the cooking schedule for Peter’s Pumpkin Lasagna, and as I’ve been preoccupied with Leonard Nimoy lately, it keeps popping into my head to say, “It’s lasagna, Jim, but not as we know it”. That’s a paraphrase of a Star Trek thing isn’t it?

Leonard Nimoy giving the Vulcan 'live long and prosper' greeting: despite a long and varied career h

Pumpkin Lasagna. With no tomato sauce, no cheese sauce, and no lasagne sheets. Weird huh?

I am not Italian. I don’t really understand the nuances of Italian cooking. All I know is, this is Peter Falk’s recipe, and therefore it is due a vast amount of respect.

Peter Falk 2

I had a VERY old tin of pumpkin in my food cupboard and as my motto for 2016 is “use it up and wear it out” that’s what I used.


I’m going to try this recipe again with fresh real pumpkin as PF suggests. Maybe some roasted butternut squash all mushed up. Mmm, that would be tasty.


To give you a flavour, the cooked pasta shells are stuffed with pumpkin, toasted almonds and nutmeg. Heated in the oven for half an hour. Lots of butter is melted, garlic fried up in it, breadcrumbs added to this then the whole lot is poured over the pasta. Parsley sprinkled and voila! Is there an Italian equivalent to “voila”?


I served it with something from my lovely friend Joan Ransley’s new book “Cooking for the Sensitive Gut”. It’s a fabulous book with lots of delicious looking recipes. I fancied these peppers the minute I saw them. They were ABSOLUTELY delicious. Mmmm. Peppers with anchovies and cherry tomatoes baked in the oven until the anchovies do their disappearing act. If I’d had a bit of French bread to mop up the anchovy / tomatoey juices from this I would have been in absolute heaven. They went really well with the “lasagna”, I was very pleased with myself for thinking of this combination.  It worked!


This is a little note for me next time I make Peter Falk’s Pumpkin Lasagna.  This time, I made half Peter’s recipe and used one five finger pinch of sea salt.  I reckon next time, I’ll double the salt.  Yum, yum!

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