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Butternut Squash, Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Butternut Squash, Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I have not abandoned my blog.  In all honesty I have been in a bittersweet funk and haven’t been feeling all that creative.  This has lead to my inability to throw something together in the kitchen, nothing has sound D’lish.  So I was excited on Friday night when I found a recipe for pumpkin & ricotta stuffed shells, it got my creative juices flowing.  So after a LONG week in the fabulous world of insurance, I dragged my tired booty to the grocery to get the ingredients (before doing so announcing to my co-workers that I Tiffany, will be cooking husband a lovely meal tonight).  I was going to cook a delicious fall dinner…..because I am trying to embrace the fact that there will not be an Indian summer in my future.  I get all the ingredients and then search for the last item, canned pumpkin.  I checked the baking aisle, someone had cleared out 2 whole shelves of it.  Ok….ok….not to worry…..it’s also kept over with the canned items.  NO!!  Bastards!  Those bastards came and cleared it out of the canned food section too.  WTF?!?  Ok, patience running thin.  So I asked one of the store courtesy clerks.  He had the nerve to tell my over worked, under-creative, tired on this Friday evening self, that he heard there was  pumpkin shortage.  Ummmm…..ok homie!  A what?!?  I tried to hold back the look of disgust I was experiencing with this young man.  Does he think I’m an idiot?!?  I know I’m blonde, but give me a break…a frickin pumpkin shortage?!?!  Reeeaalllly!?!?  I calmly pulled myself together and could only give a sarcastic….Okkkkaaayyy….  He replied with “no really, I heard my manager say that there is a ration of canned pumpkin”.  Alrighty then kind sir.  I just didn’t have it in me to carry on this exhausting exchange.  This man is obviously having a bad day and does not want to help me.  He has ruined my attempt at re-connecting with my creative soul.  I call husband whinning and telling him we must eat something out of the freezer and I will be going to ANOTHER grocery store on Saturday, who will surely have canned pumpkin, and hopefully there will still be an ounce of motivation for this dish left in myself.  Guess what folks?!?  I went to that other grocery store on Saturday and the darn guy there said the same thing!!  Could you even imagine, a pumpkin shortage??!?!  Go ahead, google it…you will come up with a bunch of crazy people like myself freaking out about this pumpkin shortage.  So, listen up…..if you run across some canned pumpkin please buy as much as you can and share with a friend.  I can’t imagine a fall season passing me by without pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin ooey gooey bars, and various other pumpkin dishes.   It’s making me nuts just thinking about it.  So inhale….exhale….wwwoooossssaaaah…..I will get past this.

So, in any event, I had all the items to cook this damn stuffed shell dish minus any pumpkin.  So I enlisted the help of my friend butternut squash.  BS didn’t let me down.  Could I have pureed a pumpkin SURE.  Is that fun for anyone?  NO!  Butternut squash meant less maintenance.  So I found this recipe for Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells (recipe also below).  I doubled the recipe, still only using 1/2 a bag of spinach.  I of course used ricotta (she uses cottage cheese….cottage cheese repulses me).  I also added a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil to the recipe and 1 teaspoon of of chopped sage.  I also toasted some chopped walnuts and sprinkled them on top (I also think some toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts would be great!).  Husband’s word for this dish was decadent.  Oh, and it was.

  • 8 pasta shells
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1/2 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 6 – 8 sage leaves

Dice the butternut squash and roast at 425 for 15 – 20 minutes or until tender, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper

Cook the shells to al dente

Meanwhile, saute the fresh spinach with olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper until cooked down.

In a bowl, combine butternut squash and spinach and blend using an immersion blender

Mix in the parmesan and ricotta cheese

Spoon the mixture onto the cooked shells and put back into the oven (no need to adjust temp) for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

While shells are cooking, make the brown butter sage sauch (melt the butter in a pan with the sage, allow butter to brown and sage to get crispy)

Spoon the sauce over the cooked shells and serve

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