{Recipe} Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Browned Butter

Let's be honest, I love pasta. In all shapes, sizes, quantities & forms. I love it & can't get enough of it. I naturally gravitate towards tomato based pasta dishes, so when I came across this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe I was super intrigued as it sounded delicious & was different than anything I've ever made. I've had a butternut squash ravioli once & it always stuck with me. The combination of the squash & pasta...is there anything better? OK well maybe peanut butter & chocolate, but besides that? Nope. This dish is rich & savory, yet with the squash at least there is something healthy in there. The dish does require a few steps to make, BUT it's not hard & totally worth all the work.  This was also my first real time cooking with sage leaves & they were SUCH an awesome crunchy addition. Sometimes I skip ingredients, but this is not one of them. I will definitely make this dish again!

Serves: 6 (I mean, for us it was only 4 portions but whatevs)
Cook time according to me: 1 hour 10 mins
How difficult was this for me? Surprisingly not too bad!

1 large butternut squash, cubed (I bought pre-cubed because it was just so much easier)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
12 ounce package of jumbo shells, 20-24 shells
2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup packed fresh spinach, chop after measuring
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup butter
8-10 fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a medium bowl, toss squash in 1-2 tbsp olive oil until fully coated

Spread on a baking sheet & roast in oven for 20-25 minutes until squash is nice & tender.

When there's approx. 10 mins left, bring large bowl of water to boil for the noodles. Your noodles should go in once you complete the next step below.

Place back in bowl & mash until squash is creamy with a similar texture to mashed potatoes only slightly stringier.

Let the squash cool to a warm room temperature & reduce oven heat to 400 degrees.

While squash is cooling, cook jumbo shells according to packaging & drain well.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, spinach, garlic, egg, salt, pepper & lemon juice. Mix really well.

Mix in squash.

Using a spoon, stuff the shells with one generous spoonful of squash/cheese mix.

Place shells in greased 9x13 baking dish.

Bake shells for 18-20 mins.

While the shells are baking, in a small saucepan melt stick of butter over medium-low heat until the butter is golden brown, about 10-12 mins. Be careful not to burn the butter.

Add sage to pot & cook until sage is crispy. They will cook really quickly, only took mine about 1-2 mins.

Remove from heat & drizzle over baked shells. I added a touch bit more parm before serving because...well I don't need to give a reason.


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