Quick & easy jumbo pasta shells stuffed with spinach, creamy ricotta, walnuts, and fresh herbs nestled in a cozy butternut squash sauce. This is a great weeknight dinner that’s great for fall and winter and ready in under 30 minutes.
The sweet and nutty flavours from the butternut squash cooked with sauteed onions, some garlic and fresh sage seasoned with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg create a delicious comforting sauce that’s perfect for a cozy night in.
Stuffed shells are an easy alternative to lasagna where instead of creating layers everything is combined and stuffed into the shells. It’s an easy way to get the comforting flavours of lasagna in half the time.
The butternut squash sauce can even be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge/freezer to cut the prep time in half. Simply bring the sauce to room temperature when it’s time for the shells to be baked. Alternatively the entire dish can be made in advance without baking and just stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
The filling is a simple mixture of whipped ricotta, cooked spinach and some walnuts to keep things easy then baked for 20 minutes until golden for a comforting dinner.
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Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with creamy ricotta, fresh spinach, sage and walnuts nestled in a creamy butternut squash sauce.
Course: Weeknight Dinners
Author: the communal feast
butternut squash sauce:
1butternut squashcubed and peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1tspred pepper flakes
For the filling:
salt and pepper to taste
For the shells:
10fresh sage leavesfor garnish
fresh . parmesanfor garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and brush a 9 by 13" baking dish with olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the shells according to package directions and rinse under cold water when finished.
To make the filling: Bring olive oil to medium heat in a large pan and sautee spinach until cooked about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
To make the butternut squash sauce: heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan (same pan) and add the onions, cook until soft and translucent about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cubed squash season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg tossing to coat, add the stock and bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until soft. Let slightly cool and transfer to a blender, blend until smooth and adjust seasoning to taste if needed. pour into baking dish about half way up the edges.
To make the stuffed shells: Combined cooked spinach, ricotta, walnuts and sage into a bowl and whip until fluffy and combined. Add a generous tablespoon of the mixture into each shell and place into the sauce. Bake for 20 minutes until the sauce bubbles and shells start to get golden.
Serve with fresh parmesan and lay a fresh leave of sage over each shell.