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Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Indulge in the irresistible combination of creamy butternut squash and perfectly cooked pasta shells with these delectable stuffed shells recipe.


  • 10 ounces diced butternut squash (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small shallot, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large leaf fresh sage, finely chopped, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 jumbo pasta shells (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry 
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta 
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella 


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Add the squash, shallot and garlic to a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the thyme, sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and toss again. Roast until the squash is tender and light golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add the pasta shells and cook until al dente according to the package directions. Drain and let cool.
  • Squeeze the roasted garlic into a small food processor or blender, add the squash, shallot and vegetable broth and puree until smooth.
  • Mix together the spinach, cream cheese, ricotta, red pepper flakes, 2/3 cup of the Parmesan and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture into each shell; set aside.
  • Add the pureed squash mixture, heavy cream and butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the remaining 1 1/3 cups Parmesan.
  • Spread the cheese sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in the baking dish seam-side up, shingling them so they all fit (you should have 5 shells along the short side and 6 shells along the long side). Top with the mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with more Parmesan and sage before serving.
Category Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition, PHN News, Recipes
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