I don't know what it is about the fall, but it makes me want to eat super healthy and start eating squash and root vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
If you find yourself craving these things too, or are just a lover of all things squash and/or pasta, you will LOVE this recipe!
Butternut Squash & Spinach Stuffed Shells:
1-2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
a box of jumbo pasta shells (or half a box, depending on how many you plan to make)
2 cups of ricotta cheese
some parmesan cheese (to taste, about 1/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 box of frozen spinach, cooked according to package directions and drained well
1/2 of a lemon, plus grated lemon peel
1 stick of butter
several sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
I found a way to peel and cube your butternut squash that makes it so much easier. I can’t recall the website where I found this tip, but I’ve been doing it every time I use butternut squash for something, and I am so thankful I discovered this. First, put your whole squash in the microwave for about 3 minutes. When it is done, let it cool for a bit. Sometimes I don’t wait that long for it to cool and just wear an oven mitt while handling the squash. Put a sil-pat under your cutting board to keep it from slipping and sliding. (Genius!) Cut off both ends of the squash, so that it will stand flat. Then cut the “bulb” of the squash off from the “neck” so that you have it in two sections. Then with a small knife (not a vegetable peeler!), carefully slice off the skin in thin strips. Then cut your squash into discs. From there, cut it into cubes. You can Google this if you want to find videos and photos of how to do this.
Toss your squash cubes with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast them on a sil-pat lined baking dish for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
Turn oven down to 400 degrees.
Once your squash is cooled down a bit, you can mash it slightly with a fork. It’s okay if there are still some larger chunks.
Combine the squash, ricotta, spinach, parmesan, lemon peel, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper in a bowl. Fill the shells with your mixture and place them in buttered baking dish.
Bake until heated through and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
While the shells are baking, you can make the lemon sage butter sauce. Melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan or skillet, until brown and bubbly. Add your sage leaves and cook until slightly crisp. Remove from heat. Squeeze in the juice from your lemon. Pour lemon sage butter sauce over the shells right before serving.
I can't wait to try this, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I know I will!