Thursday, November 1, 2012

Even Better Now - OMG Delicious Havest Pasta

 Last Fall, I shared with you my recipe for Butternut Squash-Stuffed Pasta Shells.  They are OMG delicious...but wait!  I've found a way to make them ever better.  Yes, it's true, it can be done!

So how did I come up with genius?  Well, honestly, the original recipe was a loose interpretation of a pumpkin stuffed shell I saw.  I couldn't find pumpkin, so I used squash instead.  But this time, I used the pumpkin and it was just as amazing and a lot easier.

Also, I decided last time that the shells were a little dry.  I've found that Romano and Parmesan can be a little dry and tasteless, so lately I've been substituting half of the Romano in all my recipes with Whipped Cream Cheese.  OMG!  I was so spot on with this one.  Finally, I decided Vodka sauce would be better with pumpkin than a standard marinara.  Turns out this was true also.

One more note about this recipe.  It is both vegetarian and lower in fat because the pumpkin adds body and taste without fat!  You can also make this ahead of time, and cook the following day.
So, here you updated version to favorite Fall recipe.

Pumpkin-Stuffed Pasta Shells


24 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1C of Fat Free Ricotta
3/4C of Whipped Cream Cheese
1/2 a Butternut Squash, cooked and mashed (I just cooked it in the microwave), OR 3/4 Can of Pumpkin Puree
1/2C Grated Romano/Parmesan Blend
1 Egg White
2 Cloves of Garlic (I used minced garlic in the jar, 2TBSP)
1C Fresh Basil, chopped
1TBSP Chopped Fresh Sage, minced, plus a 5 leaves
1/4C of Walnuts or Almonds (Hazelnuts would be delicious too!)
1TSP Salt
1TSP Pepper
Dash of Nutmeg
1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce (I used Vodka Sauce, but Marinara works, too)

1. Cook pasta shells according to instructions.  Rinse with cool water and drain. 

2. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with spaghetti sauce.  Set aside.

3. In a bowl, mix Ricotta, cream cheese, Romano/Parmesan, egg white, garlic, basil, and chopped sage together.  Add squash and walnuts, salt and pepper.
4. Spoon a portion of the stuffing into each of the cooked pasta shells, and layer in the pan atop the spaghetti sauce.  Drizzle or spray a light amount of olive oil over the shells. Drizzle a bit of the spaghetti sauce atop the shells also.

5. At this point, you could refrigerate the dish until ready to cook or cook immediately.
6. Cook covered in aluminum foil for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  
7. While the pasta is cooking, spritz a small amount of butter or olive oil and garlic salt in a pan and brown.  Add the leaves of fresh sage and crisp.  Lightly salt.
8. After 30 minutes of cooking the pasta, uncover and cook an additional five minutes. Top with the sage leaves and fresh Parmasan and enjoy!

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