Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Browned Butter and Sage

Oh, you’re in for a treat! Anything that involves butternut squash, sage and browned butter is a winning combo in my book, and this recipe is no exception! A suggestion from fellow Springdell customer Dawn DeMeo, these delicious stuffed shells are simpler to assemble than homemade ravioli, and dare I say even more delectable as you can fit way more filling into each one than into your standard ravioli. The timing of this recipe can be easily shortened as you can work with freshly roasted squash, squash that’s been roasted in advance (up to a few days), or thawed squash puree from the freezer. 

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  •  1 large butternut squash (roughly 3-4 cups cubed)
  •  1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells (about 20-24 shells total)
  •  2 cups of part-skim ricotta cheese
  •  1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (In a pinch, I’ve found nutritional yeast can be subbed at half the amount), plus extra to sprinkle at the end
  •  2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  •  1/2 cup packed fresh spinach (chop after measuring)
  •  1 large egg
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon pepper
  •  Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  •  1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  •  8-10 fresh sage leaves

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Peel, seed and chop the squash into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil until lightly coated and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender. 
  2. Scrape the warm squash into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Let it cool to warm room temperature before using it in the recipe. (You can do this step up to 3 days ahead.)
  3. Bring your oven to 400. Cook your pasta shells according to your directions and then drain. While your pasta is cooking, mix well your squash with the ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, spinach, egg, salt, pepper and lemon zest (not the juice yet).
  4. Grease a baking dish with a second one on-hand in case needed, and stuff the cooked pasta shells with the squash/ricotta mixture before placing them in the dish. Bake the shells for 18-20 minutes, until they are hot all the way through.
  5. While the shells are baking, prepare your brown butter sauce- melt the butter in a saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. You’ll have to keep a close eye as the window between brown butter and burnt butter is a small one- if you start to see black dots you’re at the burn stage so stop before this happens. Add the sage leaves and cook until the leaves are slightly crisp (the butter should be hot and bubbly when adding the leaves so that the sage cooks quickly). Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the juice of your lemon.
  6. Drizzle the sauce over the cooked shells and top with additional grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve the shells with 1-2 crisp sage leaves on top.

About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.