Butternut Squash & Sausage Stuffed Shells

There has been a rowdy heat wave in Michigan, late, late into the months we call Fall. Dave & I planned to go to a cider mill Friday, but just could not bring ourselves to do it in 80 degree weather. The point is to bundle up in plaid and quilted vests, not have heat exhaustion in a sundress.

Perhaps a new form of punishment could be performing Autumn activities in sauna like temperatures. It is just not meant to beAnd miserable. Let us redeem our Autumn-selves with a butternut squash dinner.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffed Shells

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAUSAGE STUFFED SHELLS
Serves 3-4

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 onion, sliced
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 pound sausage
2 cups spinach
3 cloves garlic
1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
15 ounces ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
Additional parmesan, shredded
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool.

Butternut Squash and Onions in Food Processor

Stir in milk and vegetable broth. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9×13 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9×13 baking dish.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffed Shells

Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered. Top with additional parmesan.

Note: This recipe was updated December 30, 2014.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAUSAGE STUFFED SHELLS
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan, shredded
  • Additional parmesan, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange onion and butternut squash in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook sausage over medium heat. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach and garlic. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat.
  4. Place roasted butternut squash and onion in a food processor.
  5. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool. Stir in milk and vegetable broth. Pour butternut squash sauce into base of a 9x13 baking dish.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Add sausage and spinach into ricotta and stir until evenly distributed.
  7. Fill cooked pasta shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange shells in butternut squash sauce in the 9x13 baking dish.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil followed by 15 minutes uncovered. Top with additional parmesan.
3.5.3208

Adapted from Completely Delicious.

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89 Comments

The ricotta mixture needs to be doubled for the pound of jumbo shells. I barely filled half of the shells w this mixture

I made this tonight! Instead of squash I used 2 large sweet potatoes, and Al Fresco sweet apple sausage. It all came together so well! Time consuming but we’ll worth it! I’ll definitely be making it again.

Loved the recipe, I think I would mix it up and try spicy sausage next time to balance out the flavors and maybe add some nutmeg and sage to the sauce.
Also I made the butternut sauce with almond milk and it turned out fine!

Made this last night for my friends and we all agreed, for all the work, it was just ok. Something was lacking. Maybe a final drizzle of brown butter and sage leaves, something to kick it up a notch. Or maybe using a stronger cheese to mix in with the ricotta, like asiago.

I just made this and it was a HUGE hit! Its a little time consuming, would save for a special occasion. I double batched and froze a tray for another time. SO WORTH THE EFFORT! I also added sage and i used Fieldroast sage vegan sausage for my veggie friends.

Dish was good, but extremely thick. Probably depends on the size of the squash. Would make fairly soupy as the cooking helps firm everything up. Would definitely recommend seasoning the squash while in the oven (chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper). Would add more spinach and maybe sage or parsley. Added some nutmeg to the ricotta mixture.

HOLY MOLY! This is an amazing recipe! I used sausage with extra sage for a perfect fall flavor. Otherwise, I followed this to the “T” and it was perfect. This will definitely go into my seasonal rotation. Also great to make ahead, freeze, heat, and serve the day-of.

I’m trying this tonight…but making it as a lasagna. Jumbo shells are all of the sudden hard to find and the one brand Kroger carries is EXPENSIVE! I’ll just use the filling in between noodle layers. Can’t wait!

Try using an immersion blender. I got one from target for ~$20 as food processors are much more expensive. Great substitute to make creamy soups, sauces, and mashes.

I had a butternut squash sitting on my table asking to be used for a while. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. It was excellent!! My sauce was a little thick so next time I’ll add a little more stock or milk. And I topped the whole dish off with some homemade Alfredo sauce. Drizzled it over. You can’t go wrong with Alfredo sauce(not talking jar kind). It was delicious!! I’ll definitely be bookmarking this recipe. Mahalos for sharing!

Just wow! This is absolutely delicious. I addes some red bell pepper in the sausage just before the spinach. (Trying to use it up). It added a little pop of color and complimented the sausage well.

I have been dying to try this recipe. Not only did I make it tonight for the first time, it was my first time roasting butternut squash. HUGE hit! I could eat that sauce with a spoon! My shells must be a bit on the small side, because I made about 36 stuffed shells. Dinner tonight, tomorrow and a small baking dish for me mother in-law. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

I am planning on making this tomorrow for a party. Can I prepare everything tonight and then throw it in the oven before the party

My family and I loved this recipe! I used Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage to lighten it up and keep with the Fall flavors. I also only had Manicotti shells in the house but they worked great because I could cover them in that delicious sauce. Just wanted to say thanks, it’s a new favorite!

Just made this tonight for supper, and my god, it was so awesome!! My hubby who is not a big fan of sausage really really loved it. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

I had the same issue but with the onions…WAY too long and my sauce was not the pleasant orange color! It still tasted fine, but would definitely need to cut them bigger!

I was looking for a fall recipe and this popped up on Pinterest. I’m 9 months pregnant, so I made a double batch to eat one when we get home from the hospital. It was so incredibly delicious, a little out of my comfort zone and I could not be happier with this meal. Excellent!

OH MY GOODNESS. I am eating some as I speak. This was delicious! My boyfriend said this is the best thing I’ve made recently. I could eat this every day. Awesome!

This looks stunning, and pretty healthy, too. I’m not a huge fan of butternut squash, though. Maybe roasting it adds caramelization and therefore flavor, but I think I’d like to see something spicy here. Recommendations?

Holy Mother of Mario Batali, was this delicious! Thank you for an outstanding recipe. Not a small amount of work involved here, but it is very well sequenced/timed. Steps were ready just when they should be, without rushing, delay, or overlap. Well done!

I just finished packing some leftovers for lunch tomorrow because this was amazing! I wanted to just eat the sauce with a spoon and skip making the rest, but I proceeded. I can’t breathe! I ate a ton and can’t wait for lunch tomorrow so I can eat more!!! My husband loved it too even after the face he made when I said butternut squash sauce. Thank you so much for sharing this, I will be making this again and again!!!

Oh, my goodness–this sounds absolutely fabulous. Can’t wait to try it. It is January in Michigan now, and we’ve just ended a week of blizzards and temperatures in the single digits! That 80 degrees sounds mighty nice!

Do you think the recipe would work with “no boil
shells as a time saver? Also, If i’m making for a crowd would it be okay to prepare several days in advance and bake day of? thouhts?

thanks!

I have not tried this recipe with no boil shells, but when I work with them on lasagnas, I find I do not prefer their texture. Let me know what you think if you do end up trying it. And yes, I think this would work as a freezer meal.

Is there anyway I can get the recipe before it was updated? Kind of upset with the changes! They were awesome before the change!!

Sure, April. Here is the old recipe:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 pound sausage
1 cup spinach
1 onion, diced
1 pound jumbo shells, cooked al dente
1 cup ricotta
Basil, sliced
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add butternut squash and cook until fork-tender. Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, saute sausage in a skillet with onion. When sausage is mostly browned, add spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and remove from heat. Drain butternut squash and place in blender. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Allow to cool thoroughly. Mix butternut squash with ricotta. Combine ricotta with meat mixture and season with salt & pepper. Fill shells with 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Arrange stuffed shells in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Top with basil.

This is just for my husband and I. I love leftovers, but for one day only. Do you think I could make it to your directions and freeze some?

I made these (the original recipe) and we ate half the batch for dinner that night and I froze the other half (before baking). We had the frozen half almost two months later — delicious! Actually, we thought they were even better because the flavors had more time to meld together. I wrapped the frozen half with two layers of plastic wrap and then tin foil to protect against freezer burn. Also, I let the dish thaw completely before baking. That wasn’t my intention, but we ended up eating them a day later than I anticipated, so they were in the fridge for about 1.5 days after I removed from the freezer.

I’m making these for my brother and sister-in-law who are about to have their first baby :) I want to freeze and give instructions on how long to bake it. Has anyone baked them directly from the freezer? I’m wondering if that would work well and for how long?

These turned out AMAZING! My husband, 7 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter ALL loved it! Definitely making this again. Thanks for the recipe : )

Made this last night and it was awesome! I have leftovers today which I am mega excited for :-)
I made the squash in the pressure cooker and it cooked in 2 minutes! I had also picked up some frozen ricotta stuffed shells so I just defrosted them and used the cheese they were already stuffed with to puree with the butternut squash. Thanks for the recipe!

Rachel this looks great. I put a link to it on my site because I’m featuring fall/Thanksgiving recipes for November. I wish I would go to Thanksgiving dinner and find these shells.

I pinned this recipe yesterday and made it the same day. It was a hit. Both my husband and I enjoyed it! Even my 10 year old stepson loved it. Delicious! Thanks!

Made it tonight and it was amazing! My boyfriend even loved it. Only change I made to the recipe was that I added nutmeg.

About how many shells did this end up making? I know it says a whole box, but with the box we have, that would be about 40 shells! So I wasn’t sure! Also, about what size squash did you use?

Wanna trade weather? Here in Montana we’ve already had snow, and likely more coming soon. I’d love to get in a little more sun dress weather….

On the other hand…your shells look amazing. Might have to try this one.