Confession: I’ve never purchased jumbo pasta shells or attempted a stuffed shells recipe until now.
Why? What have I waited for? I think maybe I was afraid of it. In my mind they are big and intimidating and have always seemed fragile. I would have to make sure the pasta was cooked perfectly and the stuffing was delicious and they weren’t over-stuffed or under-stuffed and what about a sauce?! So many questions and so many things I thought I would mess up, so I stayed away. Well, no longer! I faced my fear and bought the pasta. And then it sat in my pantry staring at me for two weeks before I decided it was time.
I finally did it and it’s not scary at all! IT’S SO EASY!! They turned out really delicious and I had to share!
The ricotta, butternut squash and spinach filling is creamy and full of flavor and healthy goodness. The browned butter drizzled over the pasta is rich and nutty and really sets the dish off. The roasted burst cherry tomatoes make the entire dish pop.
I can’t wait for you to try this! Let’s get started.
There are a few things going on here with boiling and baking and browning butter but PLEASE don’t be intimidated like I was for so long! You can do this and I promise it will be worth it!
This was another big hit in our house! I can’t wait to buy more jumbo shells and try a new filling! Ha! Who knew I’d feel this way after avoiding cooking these shells for so long?! I love learning new things in the kitchen from trial and error and today I learned a lot and gain a new confidence! I hope you’ll give them a try too!
If you need the meats, you could add browned Italian sausage to the filling and that would be great. Maybe serve the pasta as a side dish and pair 2-3 shells with tomatoes and a grilled or baked chicken breast. You could add a little heat to the filling by adding a little crushed red pepper flakes.
- 12 oz jumbo pasta shells
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 15 oz ricotta
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups fresh spinach OR 1 package frozen spinach, drained
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp butter - I used Kerrygold
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and cut butternut squash into 1" cubes.
Cover sheet pan with parchment paper and add butternut squash. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 30-45 minutes, until fork tender.
When squash has about 15 minutes left to cook, begin boiling water for the pasta. Prepare according to package directions. My shells took 14 minutes.
When squash is done, remove and set aside and reduce oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, add ricotta, squash, egg, parmesan, garlic and salt & pepper to taste. Pulse until fairly smooth.
Add spinach and blend again until spinach is finely chopped and combined.
Coat oven safe baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Add 1-2 tbsp of ricotta mixture (you can't mess it up, don't worry!) to each shell and add to the baking dish.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and add cherry tomatoes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place both the baking dish with the shells and the sheet pan with the tomatoes in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
With 10 minutes left to cook, heat a small saucepan to medium. Add 3 tbsp. butter and cook until you have browned butter 5-10 minutes). The butter will begin to foam. Stir frequently. The butter will slowly turn a deep caramel color and take on a rich, nutty flavor.
The butter and items in the oven should be done at just about the same time.
To plate, place 4-5 shells on a dish with several tomatoes and drizzle with browned butter. YUM!
Did you make these butternut squash ricotta stuffed shells? SHOW ME! Tag #mybusykitchen and I’ll share your posts!
Thank you for stopping by My Busy Kitchen! If you like my food, please consider subscribing to receive alerts when I post a new recipe! – Tiffany