Friday, February 15, 2013

Butternut Squash & Spinach Stuffed Shells with Sage Brown Butter

This is one of the 1st things I pinned on to my "Food to Make" board but it took me about 9 months to actually make it. I will have to say it was completely worth the wait. Although these stuffed shells are rich it isn't a terribly heavy meal. These shells have so many different layers of flavors, the ricotta cheese is creamy, the sage earthy, the butternut squash is sweet and the lemon gives it a fresh finish. All of those aspects come together to make a perfect winter meal. Give it a try this weekend!

15-20 Large Shells
2 Cups Butternut Squash - Peel & Diced
14 oz Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese + extra for topping
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Cup Spinach
1 Egg
1 Tbsp & 1 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Lemon for Zest & Juice
1 Stick of Light Butter
15 Sage Leaves

 Adapated from:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Peel and dice up your butternut squash. Arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes until softened and gold brown.While the butternut squash is roasting you can also saute your spinach in a medium pan over medium heat with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper the spinach as well. Then bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta shells. Cook the shells according to the package.
In a large bowl combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheese, egg and garlic. Give the mixture a couple of good stirs. When the butternut squash and spinach have finished cooking allow them to cool for a few minutes and then add them into the bowl with the cheeses. Then decrease the oven temp to 400 F. 
Grate about a Tbsp of lemon zest over to of the vegetables and stir the entire mixture together. The shells should be finished by now so drain the water and set them aside. I cooked more than the needed 15 in case they ripped while they were cooking. When they are cool enough to touch you can begin filling them.
Spray a pyrex dish with Pam and create an assembly line with the pasta shells and butternut squash mixture. Take each shell and fill it with a large spoonful of the mixture. Place them in the sprayed dish. Do this for all of the shells until you've used the entire bowl of filling. Line the shells up in the dish. Bake the shells at 400 F for about 25 minutes until golden brown and the tops have a slight crisp to them.
When the shells are almost done baking you can make the sage brown butter sauce. In a medium sized pan over low heat slowly melt the stick of butter. Make sure you stir frequently to keep it from burning,  you want the butter to become light brown and bubbling. Put the sage leaves into the butter and allow them to get crisp. This whole process should take no more than a few minutes. Be very careful not to burn the butter. 
Take the brown butter sauce off of the heat and squeeze 1/2 of the lemon you used for grating into the butter, this will brighten the flavor and cut the fat from the butter. Give the butter a few good stirs. When the shells are finished baking, spoon the brown butter sauce over the entire dish. Make sure each shells gets a least 1 sage leaf.
Sprinkle the top of the baking dish with more Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Linked at:,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


  1. What a great idea for a stuffing! They look delicious. Thank you for sharing with FFF!

  2. I hope it won't take me 9 months to make this dish. It looks scrumptious. Thanks for sharing with MMM.

  3. Oh this must be delicious! Thanks so much for coming to my link-up party yesterday, I hope you’ll come back again next week! xoxo~ Ruthie

  4. I am so intrigued! The shell stuffing sounds wonderful but the addition of the sage brown butter is what makes me so curious. I must try this! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Resa ~ Pitcher and Plate

  5. I'm pinning this to try soon. What a fabulous meatless entree. I love the flavor combination. Thanks so much for sharing at the Weekend Potluck. Have a terrific week!

  6. Gonna have to try this. Just posted about Butternut Squash Soup on my blog so this caught my eye. :-)

  7. This is the most original stuffed shell recipe I've ever seen and it is so seasonal.

  8. Just wanted to pop back by and let you know that I chose your dish as my personal favorite from last weeks Weekend Potluck. I love that this would be great for a family dinner or special enough for company. Thanks again for being so faithful to our party! Have a great weekend!

  9. What a great recipe! Have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. I've just made this for SRC. I had to use lasagna as I couldn't find large pasta shells but it was delicious. We all loved it - even my husband who is not a fan of butternut squash. I'm having problems adding my post to the link but hopefully it will be there soon so sorry if you've been looking for it but couldn't find it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...