Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with a Lemon Sage Brown Butter Sauce

I’m sorry, but I just can’t get enough of butternut squash this season! I know I just previously posted a lasagna using it but recently after flipping through a beautiful Donna Hay magazine I also got inspired to stuff it into pasta shells.

Donna used sweet potatoes in her recipe, which I’m sure is delicious but I knew immediately I’d be using butternut squash. I also added spinach to my stuffed shells and an egg for binding. This dish is great as a main course, or on a buffet, or even a side dish to your holiday meal.

Stuffed shells are a great addition to any dinner party, they’re individual, easy to serve, and easy to eat.

***Peel, chop and toss in olive oil your butternut squash, then into a hot oven roast the squash at 400F for 15-20 minutes, let the squash cool down and then with a fork slightly smash them leaving some chunks.

 

***Cook jumbo pasta shells according to directions but make sure they’re al’dente because they’re going to cook a little more in the oven, drain and set aside.

 

***In a bowl add 2 cups of ricotta,** 1/3 cup parmesan cheese,** 1 fresh smashed garlic clove,** 1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach ( squeezed and drained)** 1 egg, **salt, pepper,** your cooled down roasted and smashed squash, around 2 cups,** and the zest of 1 lemon.** The lemon zest was key to this dish and added a nice bright flavor.
***Stuff the shells with the mixture and place in a buttered baking dish.
Make a sage brown butter sauce by melting 1 stick of butter in saute pan until golden brown and bubbly.
Add at least 10 sage leaves until slightly crisp. Turn off heat and squeeze in fresh lemon juice of the lemon you zested.

 

Place your stuffed butternut squash shells in a 375F oven until heated through with some foil loosely on top for around 20-25 minutes. When finished spoon your warm sage sauce all over and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Inspired by Donna Hay

Fills around a dozen shells.

 

We took a drive the other day to see all the gorgeous fall colors, before we know it all the trees will be bare and we’ll be looking at snow. That I could live with out

 

Buon Appetito!

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Cooking for a Crowd?

Growing up, Meatball Lasagna was always reserved for special occasions, holiday times, and parties. Often it was served as a side dish along with a roast of some sort, a turkey, or a ham, but just as many times, all on it’s own.

Homemade mini meatballs are key, a little time consuming, but worth it! You can roll, and cook them ahead of time, stick them in a Ziploc bag in the frig, or freezer till ready to assemble. My meatballs will always have garlic, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, egg, salt, pepper, and lots of grated Romano cheese.
I find that results are best if you use the dried or fresh noodles, not the no-boil type, layering as you go with a light homemade marinara sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, shredded, or fresh mozzarella, the mini meatballs, and more Romano cheese. Who can resist oozing cheese and dripping sauce and a bite of a tiny meatball? A definite crowd pleaser!!

Stuffed Shells are great for a party also, they’re individual and self contained, and easy to serve.
Here I made two different kinds, a meat mixture of ground round, chopped spinach, and grated Romano cheese, and your standard ricotta cheese mixture.

This was served as a side dish to our meal on Christmas day. Packed up and ready to go to my BIL, and SIL’s for dinner! Two huge pans! You think I went a little overboard??? I know, I have issues!!
We also had New York strip steaks on the grill, beer battered shrimp, shrimp scampi, assorted veggies, and way to much other stuff. Needless to say, everyone went home with a huge care package.

Next time you have a party you might want to try these!

Buon Appetito!!!
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