Spiced butternut squash puree? Creamy bechamel? Gooey cheese? Yes please! This dish is so comforting and delicious - just perfect for fall.
Roast some butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mash it up with mascarpone, Parmesan, brown butter, garlic, and shallots.
Stuff the filling into large pasta shells - I used whole wheat to add a semblance of health. I found one box of shells to be too many, actually - so I filled the others with cheese and tomato sauce.
Top with bechamel, mozzarella, and sage. Bake until golden and bubbly.
Yum, yum, yum - bubbly cheese!
And the filling is so rich, and sweet, and flavorful. Go. Make these. Right now. Seriously.
Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
adapted from How Sweet It Is
20 jumbo shells
2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
10-15 sage leaves, cut into thin strips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, flip, then roast for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and mash with a fork or potato masher until almost pureed.
Meanwhile, boil water and prepare shells according to directions, subtracting 1 minute from recommended cooking time. Drain pasta and set aside to cool.
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp butter, garlic, and shallots. Whisk until brown bits appear in the butter, then mash into the butternut squash, along with the mascarpone and and tbsp of Parmesan. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon about 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp (depending on the size of your shells) of squash into each shell, then lay in the dish. Repeat.
To make the bechamel, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook until golden and a nutty aroma appears. Add milk and Parmesan and let come to a simmer while whisking constantly. Once sauce has thickened, stir in nutmeg, salt, and pepper if desired. Pour mixture over top of shells, then add mozzarella and sage. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.