Stuffed shells have been a favorite in our family for a long time. We grew up on the version made with tomato sauce- we would be put on cheese grating duty while snacking on a few extra shells our mom made us. These stuffed shells are just as comforting as I remember from growing up, but I would call these ones stuffed shells: fall edition.
The sauce is creamy and delicious, starting with butternut squash and onions. Honestly, what's better then roasted squash, especially when flavored with sage and olive oil? The answer: when you take this roasted squash and blend it up with some veggie stock and milk to create a flavorful pasta sauce.
The filling of the shells is just as autumn-y and delicious as the sauce. Kale is sauteed with garlic and olive oil, then mixed with a creamy blend of ricotta and parmesan cheeses. An egg binds everything together, and then your filling is ready to go! The filled shells and the sauce are baked together to create a warm and comforting pasta dish that is absolutely perfect for fall.
Kale and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce
Ingredients for Sauce
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 1 cup milk
Ingredients for Pasta and Filling
- 15 jumbo pasta shells*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups kale, torn into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
*A few of your shells will break, so this number allows for a few extra
To make the sauce:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine squash, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage. Spread evenly on the sheet pan. Bake until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly
If using an immersion blender, transfer roasted squash to a large bowl. Add veggie stock and milk and blend until smooth. Alternatively, blend in batches in a regular blender. Set sauce aside.
To assemble the pasta shells:
Cook shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add kale pieces and cook, stirring often, until kale is reduced in size by half. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper, and kale mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the butternut squash sauce into the baking dish. Scoop a spoonful of the kale and ricotta mixture into each of the pasta shells. Place the filled shells into the butternut squash sauce.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
adapted from completely delicious