It seems like you guys are loving these stuffed shells recipes, so I’m going to keep the ball rolling! They are the perfect comforting fall dinner for you, your family, or your friends. It feeds a crowd, so make sure your dinner table is full!
I think shells are so fun. It’s easy to serve since it’s technically individual servings. Plus, oddly enough, it’s a fairly cheap meal. Pasta is one of my go-to dishes when I need to feed a lot of people (which I do often lol) and also not break the bank. I also think these shells are a great holiday meal when family is in town or if you want to have dinner parties. These shells will impress your guests even though they are so easy to make!
If you are a little nervous about making these/ think it may be too difficult – don’t think that way! They are seriously so easy even the beginner cooks can tackle this one. I have a saved highlight on my Instagram that you can check out. I did a story detailing the steps and what order to do things in. Read the recipe and follow my highlight if you’d like!
This is the perfect thing to serve with a Caesar salad (or really any salad) and a big loaf of bread!
SAUSAGE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND KALE STUFFED SHELLS WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO CREAM SAUCE
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour + 25 minutes
For the shells:
- 6 oz. jumbo shells, about half a box
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded (for topping)
For the filling:
- 1/2 yellow onion, small dice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lb. Italian sausage
- 6 leaves flat leaf kale, stem removed and large dice
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, good quality
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
For the squash:
- 1 butternut squash, about 2.5 cups, skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Olive oil
- Salt + pepper
For the cream sauce:
- 2 tbsp butter, salted
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, small dice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tbsp canned sun dried tomato pesto
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
For the pasta:
- Boil the shells for about 9 minutes in salted water. Do not over cook as they will finish cooking in the oven later on.
- Reserve 1 cup pasta water for later use.
- Drain but do not rinse the shells. Set aside.
For the butternut squash:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the diced squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the squash are tender but not crunchy. They should be very soft.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for now.
For the filling:
- Place the olive oil, onion and sausage in a large pan and cook on medium heat until sausage is cooked through.
- Add in the kale and sauté until the kale is soft and tender.
- Add in salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano.
- Turn off heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool for about 15 minutes or until it is no longer hot to the touch.
- Add in the butternut squash, ricotta and mozzarella. Mix the filling together and set aside.
For the sauce:
- Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add in butter, shallot and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the shallot and garlic are tender.
- Add in heavy cream, half and half, sun dried tomato pesto and lemon zest. Bring to a soft boil.
- Add in Parmesan cheese and stir. Turn off heat and add in a couple tbsp of pasta water at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
- Start placing a spoonful of filling in each shell, and then place in the baking dish. Repeat till all the shells are stuffed and the dish is full.
- Pour the remaining sauce on top of the stuffed shells.
- Top the shells with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
- Once cooked for the full time, turn the oven to a high broil and cook for an additional few minutes. This will put some color and crunch to the tips of the pasta and the cheese. (This step is not necessary and can be omitted)
- Remove from the oven and serve warm with extra Parmesan cheese!