My mom used to make stuffed pasta shells when I was growing up, and let me tell you, I could never eat just one (or two).
So when the opportunity to participate in Vancouver’s Virtual Potluck came up, I knew what I was going to make right away – my mom’s stuffed pasta shells (with my own twist of course!).
The Virtual Potluck brings 35+ of Vancouver’s food bloggers together for one epic feast. Below you’ll see “next” and “back” buttons so you can see the recipe before mine and the recipe after mine. I’m sure you’ll be hungry once once you see what’s on the entire menu (I know I will be!).
So without further ado, here’s my mom’s stuffed pasta shell recipe with an added extra ingredient – butternut squash! The squash adds an extra layer of dimension and depth to the dish, and a certain sweetness that rounds out all the flavours. Gotta keep things interesting right?
Stuffed Pasta Shells with Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Spinach with a Creamy Rosé Sauce
Makes about 40 shells
500 grams pasta shells (I use La Molisana brand)
800 grams ricotta
1 cubed butternut squash (skin removed)
3 bunches spinach
2 cans tomatoes (I use La Molisana brand)
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1/2 litre whipping cream
Olive oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
Bread crumbs (optional)
- Roast your butternut squash in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven until tender. About 30 mins. Remove from oven once done and let cool.
- Make your rosé sauce – In a large pot, sauté 1 tbsp of the onion in olive oil until tender and add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sauce cook down (about 20 mins). At this point, add whipping cream to the sauce to make it a rosé. Let it cook a bit more (about 5-10 mins). One note about this sauce- you will want it to be still nice and “runny” at this point- it can’t be too dense or else it will dry out too much in the oven.
- Cook your pasta shells – boil water in a large pot and cook pasta shells once water boils about 10 at a time until al dente and not fully cooked. Remember, they will cook more in the oven. It took the pasta shells about 15-20 mins to cook each batch. Place on a cloth to dry them out a bit.
- Make your filling – in a pan sauté oilve oil and remaining onions until tender and fragrant. Add spinach a bit at a time and let it cook down until soft and tender. Add salt and pepper to tasta. Set aside to cool. When spinach is cooled, roughly chop into small pieces. In a large bowl, add ricotta, cubed butternut squash, spinach, one egg, salt and pepper. Mix the filling together with your hands. Depending on your ricotta, if you feel the filling is too runny, add some bread crumbs to absorb the moisture and dry the filling out a bit.
- Stuff your shells -using a spoon, stuff the filling in the pasta shell.
- Assemble shells and sauce – Spread sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish. Assemble the stuffed shells in the baking dish on top of the sauce. Then add more sauce on top of the shells.
- Bake the shells – Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake shells for about 30 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!