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!

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells - on Dish with Fork

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.

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:

Cheesy Ricotta Herb Filling in bowl

Take some mostly cooked jumbo shells and stuffed them with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture:

Stuffing Cheese Herb Mixture Into Jumbo Shells

Line them up snugly in a baking dish spread with some butternut squash sauce on the bottom:

3 Stuffed Shells Lined Up on Butternut Squash Sauce

When you’ve filled up the whole dish, spread more butternut squash sauce on top, to cover it completely.

Spreading Butternut Squash Sauce Over Stuffed Shells

Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top, then some parmigiano reggiano.

Sprinkling Cheese Over Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells Dish

Bake for 30 minutes until the butternut squash sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned:

Butternut Squash Sauce Stuffed Shells with Cheese Topping and Thanksgiving Table Decorations

Enjoy with an extra dusting of grated parmigiano reggiano on top before serving. Mmm!

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Cheese Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce on Plate

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!
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Ingredients

For the butternut squash sauce:

  • 6 cups cooked 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

In order to cook the squash, simply cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast in a 375 degree oven for an hour, until fork tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree as directed in the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 168mg, Sodium: 927mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.