Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce
These Cheesy Stuffed Shells are a twist on the classic tomato version, and are made with a creamy and delicious butternut squash sauce. It’s one of my favorite fall recipes!
Have you ever had butternut squash as a sauce?
I’m absolutely crazy for it, and it’s definitely my favorite pasta sauce of all. It’s especially perfect this time of year, and it’s also a good alternate dish to serve on Thanksgiving if you have any guests that don’t eat meat.
Akin to a Butternut Squash Soup, butternut squash sauce is creamy, rich and thick with an unbelievable amount of flavor, and it’s basically just pureed butternut squash with a touch of cream and nutmeg. It sounds simple, but when you try it with this pasta I think you’ll be blown away.
Start by preparing the filling, which is a mixture of whole milk ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, parsley, basil, eggs, and a little salt and pepper:
Take some mostly cooked jumbo shells and stuffed them with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture:
Line them up snugly in a baking dish spread with some roasted butternut squash sauce on the bottom:
When you’ve filled up the whole dish, spread more butternut squash sauce on top, to cover it completely.
Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top, then some parmigiano reggiano.
Bake for 30 minutes until the butternut squash sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned:
Enjoy with an extra dusting of grated parmigiano reggiano on top before serving. Mmm!
Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce
For the butternut squash sauce:
- 6 cups roasted butternut squash
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
For the stuffed shells:
- 8 oz package fresh spinach cooked and squeezed of excess water
- 32 oz tub whole milk ricotta
- 16 oz grated whole milk mozzarella divided
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 12 oz package jumbo shells
- 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- Place all the butternut squash sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning if necessary, and also add more water if the sauce seems too thick, but make sure not to water it down too much. Set this mixture aside.
- Chop up the cooked spinach and place in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, half of the mozzarella cheese, parsley, basil, eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix very well. Set this mixture aside.
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil, and season generously with salt. Cook the jumbo shells for two minutes less than it states on the package (mine said to cook for 12 minutes, so I cooked them for 10). Remove the shells from the water, and rinse them thoroughly with cold running water. Now we’re ready to fill!
- This recipe will make slightly more than one 9×13 pan of shells, but this is enough filling to fill all the shells, so plan to have two dishes ready.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spread each dish with about one and a half cups of butternut squash sauce in the bottom. Then fill each pasta shell with a spoonful of the herbed ricotta and place in the baking dish. Once the baking dish is full of a single layer of shells, snugly placed side-by-side, add two cups of butternut squash sauce on top to cover the pasta completely. Evenly sprinkle the remaining half of mozzarella cheese over the top, and add the parmigiano reggiano as well.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the butternut squash sauce is bubbling and the cheese is slightly browned on top. Serve with an extra grating of parmigiano reggiano on top, and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
15 Comments on “Cheesy Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce”
This is delicious! It will be my recipe the next time I have people over. I was a bit scared of what the butternut squash sauce would be like, but then I spent 15 minutes getting every last bit off my blender because it was so tasty I couldn’t just wash it off.
Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed it and that you think it’s company worthy. I’m making another batch this week myself =)
This is absolutely FAB!! I’ve made it to try and it is going to be on dinner party menu this weekend.
Best ever sauce ever ever…. and if anyone is wondering…this whole dish can be made ahead and frozen. I just defrost, add cheese to the top and bake. Oh desert will include the peach croustade
another of Joanne’s to die for decadent deserts.
Hi Elaine, I’m SO happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! It’s one of my favorites too and I’m making another batch today. Thanks for sharing the tip about freezing!
Loving this so much! I have to make it soon!!
This looks amazing! I’m a butternut squash fan, for sure. I’d never really experienced that veggie until a year or two ago, but my fiance is crazy for it. Yum!
I love butternut squash but have never had it in a dish like this. What an easy way to make a lightened up version of a cheesy casserole. I will have to give it a shot!
Butternut Squash sauce? Brilliant. . I love this!
I’ve never seen or thought of butternut squash for a sauce….brilliant!
Yum, they look so delish!
Butternut squash sauce is the best!! It’s my favorite too!! Love this casserole!
I am dying over these noodles with the butternut squash sauce. This casserole looks delicious!
I think I’m going to try this in a Ravioli also
Sounds and looks so good, defiantly think this is going to be a keeper, thank you
Yummmmm! I have to try this ASAP! Looks amazing!!