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Casserole dish filled with stuffed shells topped with orange squash

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Meatless Mondays just got a whole lot better with my butternut squash stuffed shells recipe. This dish is full of creamy ricotta cheese, spinach, and butternut squash puree. It's perfect for any family dinner and impressive enough for company.
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Course: Comfort Food, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American and Itanlian
Keyword: meatless monday, vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Laura Franco

Ingredients 

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package jumbo shells
  • 1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 lemon - zest and juice

Instructions

Puree

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Peel the butternut squash and slice it in half.
  • Remove and discard the seeds.
  • Cut the squash into large chunky pieces.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 30 minutes.
  • When the squash is finished, place it in a blender and blend until smooth.

For the full recipe

  • While the squash is roasting, cook the shells 1-2 minutes less time than on the box instructions.
  • When they are finished cooking, rinse them in cool water and set them aside while you make the filling.
  • Mix the spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Spoon a layer of squash puree on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Fill the shells with the spinach and cheese mixture and place them on the squash puree.
  • Top each of the cheese stuffed shells with more squash puree.
  • To make the brown butter sauce, heat the butter in a small saucepan until it begins to turn brown and foamy.
  • Remove it from the heat and add the sage leaves. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the hot butter mixture over the entire dish.
  • Zest the lemon over the shells.
  • Bake covered for 25 minutes.
  • Uncover it and bake another 5 minutes.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the shells right before serving.

Notes

  • Cook the entire box of pasta shells even though you may not use them all. Some of the shells will crack so you won't be able to fill all of them.
  • Cook the pasta shells so they are al dente. You want them cooked but firm enough to stay together when you stuff them.
  • Be sure to rinse the cooked shells in cool water to stop the cooking process.
  • I used a spoon to stuff the shells. But, you can also place the cheese spinach mixture into a ziptop bag, snip off a corner and use it as a piping bag to pipe the mixture into the shells.
  • If you end up with extra squash puree, put it in a zip-top bag and freeze it for up to 6 months.