I have no idea why my family refers to this one pot pasta dish as “polliwog.” We all know that a polliwog is a tadpole. I also learned that a polliwog or “pollywog” also refers to a sailor who has not crossed the equator. Neither of these definitions has anything to do with this polliwog or shell macaroni with meat sauce recipe.
Conchiglie, the conch shell shaped macaroni, somehow just tastes better than pasta of other shapes. Use the small to medium shell macaroni to prepare polliwog. Another fact that cannot necessarily be explained is that somehow the sauce seems to adhere better to the shell shaped pasta. The meat sauce hides inside of the conch shell making every bite delectable. Yum!
What I do know to be true, is that children and adults of all ages love polliwog. Polliwog is a hearty one pot meal that can be made ahead and easily doubled and frozen in containers if you want to make extra for another meal.
You don’t need much to make this easy pasta recipe. First, boil the shell macaroni and drain. Next brown the ground meat with onion and garlic and other seasonings. You can choose to make a tomato sauce from scratch or purchase a jar of your favorite sauce to add to the cooked ground meat. Finally, gently stir in the pasta making sure that each shell is coated with the meat sauce and adjust the seasonings.
We like to serve the polliwog with freshly grated parmesan cheese. My mom used to bake the leftover pasta in a deep glass baking dish with grated cheddar cheese on top. Add a loaf of garlic bread and a green salad and there you have it! An easy, do ahead, one pot main that will delight the kids and adults in your family.