Hello and Welcome to Djalali Cooks! Fall feels like all things squash, and today I have another way to use roasted butternut squash: Butternut and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, with Alfredo sauce. I love butternut ravioli and this dish is a riff on those flavors. This recipes calls for one cup of roasted butternut, so it’s great if you have some leftover from another recipe, or if you roast a good-sized squash for this specifically, you will have some leftover for something else. So let’s get right to it!
Breaking Down a Butternut
Let’s start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then let’s tackle that squash! Slice off the stem end of the butternut. Then use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash all the way down to its orange flesh. I prefer a Y-peeler because it’s ergonomic and has a wide blade.
You want to peel far enough so that there are no visible white parts and green strands from the peel. Peel until the whole squash is nothing but bright orange flesh.
Then slice the neck from the bulb; and slice the neck in half lengthwise.
Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Slice each of the four pieces in half lengthwise again, then slice into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. You don’t have to get too fancy with the slicing, just be sure that all the slices are roughly the same thickness.
Toss the butternut slices in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a few pinches of Kosher salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer on a large sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until the squash slices are tender and begin to brown. When you pull the roasted squash, reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees.
Butternut and Ricotta Filling
The filling is super simple. We have our roasted butternut, ricotta cheese, grated mozzarella, grated Parmesan, fresh sage and rosemary. We have the jumbo shells, or course. And while cream sauce is simple to make, I have opted for a store-bought Alfredo sauce. I really like Rao’s because it has a short ingredient list without a bunch of weird stuff in it. Get a large pot of water set to boil.
First, let’s mash up the butternut. Use a food processor and blitz up the slices to a thick mashed potato consistency. We only need one cup, so start with a couple hand fulls of the slices and go from there. When you have a cup’s worth of mashed butternut, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add 1 cup of ricotta cheese.
Mix the ricotta and the mashed butternut. Then add 1 cup of grated mozzarella, mix to combine.
Then add about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. Mix to combine and add the finely chopped fresh sage and rosemary. Mix well and taste for seasoning. Add more Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
Your pasta water should be boiling by now, so add a few big pinches of Kosher salt to the boiling water, then add the box of jumbo shells and boil for 8 minutes. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Drain the al dente pasta shells and spread them out on the parchment-lined sheet tray.
Use a 9×13-inch baking dish, and spread a layer of the Alfredo sauce to generously cover the bottom of the pan. There is enough filling to do about 24 individual shells. My baking dish will only hold 16 shells, so I used a second, 9×9-inch dish for the overflow.
Fill the Shells
Use a spoon to fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of filling and set the filled shells in the baking dish, making neat rows of four or five shells.
Once you have filled the dish, drizzle the shells with a little more sauce. If you have to do a second dish of shells, be sure to reserve enough sauce for the second dish (or have a second jar of sauce on hand). Sprinkle more mozzarella on the shells.
Cover the dish and place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes covered. Then, remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and begins to get spotty brown.
Butternut and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Top with chopped parsley and more grated Parmesan. I opted to serve these Butternut and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with sautéd kale.
Super Fall flavor, with the roasted butternut and fresh sage. The Alfredo sauce brings a savory richness to the sweet butternut flavor. The ricotta mixes well with the butternut, lightening up the flavor and texture. Perfect little noodle packages, these stuffed shells were a big hit with Alex; they’re a delicious alternative to a red sauce-stuffed shell.
Thank you all so much for spending some of your day with me; definitely give these Butternut and Ricotta Stuffed Shells a try, they’re simple to make and if you love the flavor of roasted squash, Alfredo and cheese – they will be a winner for sure! For another pasta dish with similar flavors, try my Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagne. I have quite a few roasted squash recipes up on the blog, You can check out my Pinterest page to see all the squash recipes in one spot. Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Butternut and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
A fall take on the usual red sauce stuffed shells, roasted butternut lends its sweet flavor alongside Alfredo sauce, ricotta and fresh herbs.
- 1 cup Mashed Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 2 cups grated Low Moisture Mozzarella, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
- 1 tsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 1 12-oz. Package Jumbo Shells
- 1 15-oz. Jar Alfredo Sauce (like Rao's)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss peeled, sliced butternut in olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper and spread on a sheet tray. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, until the butternut is tender and begins to brown. Remove from oven, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Butternut and Ricotta Filling
Use a food processor to mash roasted butternut slices, yielding 1 cup of mashed butternut. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add 1 cup ricotta and mix well with the mashed butternut.
Add 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Add the chopped herbs and mix well to fully combine. Taste for seasoning, add more Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Boil pasta in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Drain and spread shells on a parchment-lined sheet tray.
In a 9x13-inch baking dish, pour enough Alfredo sauce to generously coat the bottom of the dish.
Use a spoon to fill each shell with the filling and set the filled shells in the sauce-lined baking dish. Continue to fill shells and place in dish until the dish has 4-5 rows of 4-5 stuffed shells per row.
Drizzle a little more sauce down the center of each row of shells and top with more mozzarella.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and beginning to brown.
There is enough filling to do about 24 individual shells. My baking dish will only hold 16 shells, so I used a second, 9x9-inch dish for the overflow. If you have to do a second dish of shells, be sure to reserve enough sauce for the second dish (or have a second jar of sauce on hand).