Butternut Squash Kale Stuffed Shells is a wonderfully rich and creamy dish that is full of fall flavors.
Stuffed shells are a favorite in my house. Especially during the fall and winter months, when I've been known to make them on a weekly basis. While I typically make them with spinach and marinara sauce, lately I have really been craving fall flavors. So, I decided to put an autumnal spin on this classic meal by swapping out the marinara for a butternut sage cream sauce and replacing the spinach for kale. The verdict? Utterly delicious!
Butternut Squash Kale Stuffed Shells is a great make-ahead solution. And I am always looking for ways to get ahead on my meal prep, especially during this time of year. You can prepare the sauce and filling a day in advance, store in airtight containers in the fridge until it's time to assemble and bake. It also travels well and is great for holiday parties, potlucks or anytime you need to feed a crowd.
3 Tips for Preparing Butternut Squash
- Cut the bottom of the butternut squash flat to stabilize and prevent it from moving when peeling and cutting.
- Put the whole squash in the microwave for a couple of minutes, allow it to cool completely, then use a vegetable peeler or knife to easily remove the skin.
- Cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh.
This recipe calls for cutting the butternut squash into cubes and roasting. However, you can also roast the two butternut squash halves on a large baking sheet, flesh side up. Once cooled, simply scoop out the flesh and add to a food processor with the other ingredients.
Butternut Squash Kale Stuffed Shells is Great for Leftovers
If you're looking for tasty ways to use up those holiday meal leftovers, this recipe is the perfect solution! Simply use diced or shredded turkey instead of sausage and make the sauce with leftover winter squash, sweet potatoes or yams. You can even add some leftover pumpkin purée (or if you're feeling really adventurous, pumpkin pie filling) to the ricotta mixture.
More Recipes Like Butternut Squash Kale Stuffed Shells
- 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ cup half & half or cream
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 pound sausage
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups kale
- 15 ounces ricotta
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 pound jumbo shells cooked al dente
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Toss together cubed squash, onions, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour on to baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
Roast squash for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
Once cooked, place in a food processor or blender and add the sage, half & half, and broth; pulse until smooth.
Pour ⅔ of the sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large frying pan set over medium high heat, cook the sausage and the garlic. When sausage is just about cooked through, add the kale and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the ricotta, egg, salt and pepper, and the parmesan cheese. Fold in the cooled sausage mixture.
Fill the cooked pasta shells the filling then arrange in the pan filled with butternut squash sauce.
Pour remained sauce over the shells.
Cover pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.
Serve warm with a lightly dressed salad, if desired.
Butternut Squash Sauce and sausage and kale mixture can be made a day ahead of time if refrigerated in an airtight container.
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