Cheesy Ricotta & Sausage Stuffed Shells in Roasted Squash Puree

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Can we talk summer ending for a second? I feel like it’s happening SO quickly. Yesterday morning at around 7:15AM the sky was still a little orangey, and the sun was still fairly low in the sky. A reminder that the days are about to start getting a little shorter as summer truly comes to an end.
My boyfriend likes to joke that we don’t really have seasons here in California, and maybe that’s true if you’re from the East Coast like he is, but I think for us Californians, we’ve learned to notice the little changes we do have here on the West Coast, that signal one season bleeding into the next. Like, for example, things staying darker just a liiiitle bit longer. School starting up again. Thanksgiving decorations popping up in store windows. Pumpkin-something-or-other gracing the menu boards at our favorite coffee shops. Sure, maybe we don’t have the picturesque fall leaves that you Bostonians do, but I like to think we do OK.
So, just in case you need a reminder that fall is coming, I’ve made these stuffed shells in a roasted squash puree that seriously, you’re going to have some trouble not eating entirely in one sitting. Good thing swimsuit season is over, amirite?

Ingredients
1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/4 cup milk
1 lb sausage
3 gloves garlic
1 pound of jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
15 oz ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup shredded parmesan + additional to serve
Basil, to serve
Salt & pep
Olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. On a large baking sheet (I had to use 2!) drizzle the squash and onion with olive oil, toss with salt and pepper, and bake for 45-60 minutes, until caramelized. Watch the onions, they’ll cook more quickly than the squash and you don’t want them to burn.
  2. Cool slightly, then add the squash and onion to a food processor, and process until smooth. Add in milk, and blend again until combined.
  3. While the squash and onion are roasting, heat a large pan over medium heat, and remove the sausage from the casing if need be. Add a little olive oil to the pan, and brown the sausage, adding in the garlic at the last minute to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg and 1/4 cup of parm. Add in the sausage once cooked. Mix.
  5. In rectangular baking pan, layer the squash and onion puree, and then the shells. Stuff each shell with the ricotta sausage mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Top with additional parm and basil. Enjoy!

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