Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce

Today is such a great day. We’re having ricotta stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce.

Stuffed shells in a white casserole dish

Let’s make ricotta stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce

And that’s because it’s a day filled with pasta.

You know how much I love pasta (like this Lemon Asparagus Pasta, Pasta Calabrese with Artichokes & Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake), but I’ve been trying to cut back a little because, as a creature of habit, I tend to overdo certain things.  

Especially when it comes to food.  Pasta is essentially my favorite thing in life.  So anyways, I’ve been trying to save it for special occasions, and today just happens to be one of them.  

Not because it’s a holiday, or a birthday, or whatever, it’s just Sunday and I want a coupla jumbo shells stuffed with ricotta.

Ya hear me?

Stuffed shells in a white casserole dish
Stuffed shell on a spoon

Tell me: how much do you love pasta?!

Per my usual shenanigans, these are not ordinary stuffed shells.  

There are handfuls of kale mixed in with the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, loads of garlic and seasonings, and then topped with the – best ever – butternut squash pasta sauce.  Made from scratch.

I mean, you could use a jar of marinara, or even a jar of butternut squash pasta sauce, but my recipe is pretty darn easy to make, and it’s super delish.

It’s just olive oil, garlic, butternut squash puree (I just roasted a whole squash, but you can buy it in a can), some milk or cream, Parmesan, and salt and pepper.

You can certainly add some herbs, or whatever your  lil heart desires.  It’s your sauce!

And while you’re at it, you may as well make 3 or 4 batches and have it on hand.  You’re gonna want more of it – just sayin’.

Stuffed shell on a spoon



Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Sauce

Pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and smothered with butternut squash sauce and mozzarella cheese.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 25-30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30-35 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins-1 hr 5 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking, Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, divided
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree*
  • ¼ cup cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan, divided
  • 15-ounces ricotta
  • 2 cups chopped kale or baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Handful chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook jumbo shells according to package directions. Drain and let slightly cool.
  3. In the same stock pot, heat oil to medium-high heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and saute 30 seconds, until fragrant. Whisk in butternut squash puree and cream or milk and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with the salt and pepper. If lumpy, use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, kale or spinach, ¼ cup parmesan, ½ cup mozzarella, 3 cloves garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, until combined.
  5. Spread a half cup of butternut squash sauce onto the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Stuff each shell with a few tablespoons of ricotta mixture, then layer them on top of the butternut squash sauce. Top shells with remaining butternut squash sauce, then cover with remaining 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Top with parsley and serve.


Cooking Tips: To make your own butternut squash puree: Slice a whole medium butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds; discard. Place squash upside down on a baking sheet and pour a small layer of water at the bottom of the pan. Roast at 400 degrees for an hour, until flesh is very tender. Allow to slightly cool, then scoop flesh from the skin; discard skin. You can also use canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 328
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 475mg
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 34g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Cholesterol: 49mg

Keywords: easy, seasonal, fall, comfort food, creamy, family friendly, from scratch

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