I am definitely a pasta girl. For me, its the ultimate comfort food. Sometimes, though, pasta dishes can be too heavy with all the cheese, butter, and oil that recipes call for. Have you ever seen Mario Batali cook?! He is definitely the Italian Paula Deen. Instead of using massive amounts of butter, he uses olive oil.
If you are looking for a pasta dish that is light and fresh, I would definitely recommend these shells. The spinach and butternut squash make these shells really flavorful without using so much cheese.
I have to warn you, the original recipe calls for a lemon sage brown butter sauce, and it looks absolutely delicious. I didn't use the sauce for this recipe because it calls for a stick of butter and I knew that I'd be eating a lot of shells myself.
Here is the link for the original recipe that includes the recipe for the sauce: Proud Italian Cook. If I was making it for a special occasion, I would definitely try the sauce out.
Recipe Source: Proud Italian Cook
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounce package jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups of part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some extra for topping
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel and chop butternut squash into cubes.
- Drizzle butternut squash with olive oil and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Reduce oven to 400 degrees
- Cook your jumbo pasta shells according to directions.
- In a pan, saute spinach with olive oil. Remove from stove and let cool
- In a large bowl add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, egg, zest and juice of lemon, and salt and pepper
- Once butternut squash and spinach has cooled down, add to ricotta cheese mixture.
- Stuff the shells with the mixture and place in a buttered baking dish.
- Bake shells for 18-20 minutes