Ricotta stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce
Serves: 6
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the filling:
  • 1 pound Swiss chard
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 20-25 jumbo dried pasta shells
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a large, sharp knife, trim the ends of the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Peel with a vegetable peeler. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. On a baking sheet toss the butternut squash and onion with the olive oil, chili flakes and salt. Roast until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Transfer squash to a food processor or high-speed blender. Add apple cider vinegar, chicken stock and half and half, process until smooth adding a little more stock if needed to thin if necessary. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  3. Cook the shells according to directions in well-salted water until al dente. Drain and let cool enough to handle with your hands. Lightly oil a large baking dish or several smaller dishes.
  4. To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  5. Remove the stems from the Swiss chard and finely chop and slice the rest of the leaves into ribbons. Add the chard stems to a medium skillet with the tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften and then add the rest of the chard and cook until wilted. Let cool slightly before adding to the ricotta mixture.
  6. Spread a ⅓ of the sauce across the bottom of a lightly oiled 9x13 inch baking dish or several smaller dishes. Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, uncover for the last 15 minutes or until the shells are hot and cooked through. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.
Recipe by Scaling Back at https://www.scalingbackblog.com/ricotta-stuffed-shells-with-butternut-squash-sauce/