When you think of stuffed shells, most times everyone thinks of a tomato based sauce. Right? Well this recipe has an Alfredo sauce instead. The shells are stuffed with spinach, butternut squash, Italian Sausage and ricotta. You lay the shells on top of half of the Alfredo sauce, and then pour the rest all over the shells. Sprinkle Parmesan and fresh mozzarella and bake in the oven until all bubbly and starting to brown on top.
Oh this dish is heaven. Definitely a crowd pleaser. Your next Sunday night dinner.
Serving Size 6-8
Total Time 1.5 to 2hrs
• 1 box of Jumbo Shells
• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 lbs of mild Italian Sausage (not in links)
• 1 10oz box of frozen Spinach – thawed and drained
• 2 cups finely chopped Butternut Squash
• 1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese
• 1 large Garlic Clove minced
• 1 cup divided of Parmesan
• 8oz ball of fresh Mozzarella torn
• Salt & Pepper
• 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
• 1/4 cup heaping All-Purpose Flour
• 4 cups of Whole or 2% Milk
• 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
• 3 large Garlic Cloves minced
• Salt and Pepper
• 1 cup grated Parmesan
1) In a sauté pan I’ve medium high heat, brown up the sausage and break it up. You want small bite sized crumbles. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl and let cool.
2) In the same sauté pan with the drippings from the sausage, add your squash and a pinch of sea salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Sauté until they start to crisp up a bit. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl and let cook a bit.
3) While the Sausage and Squash are cooking, you can make part of the Ricotta mixture. In a paper towel wring out all the extra liquid from the spinach in a paper towel. In a bowl, add all your Ricotta, Garlic, Spinach, half of the Parmesan and Salt & Pepper. Mix all together so everything is well combined. Once the sausage and squash are all cooled, add them to the ricotta mixture. Fold in gently so you don’t break up the squash.
4) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, once the it’s at a rapid boil added your shells. Cook to what the package says. Drain and let cook with a little bit of olive oil. The olive helps so the shells don’t stick together.
5) While pasta is cooking and cooking make the Alfredo Sauce. In medium sized pot or heavy bottom pot (Dutch oven), over medium heat add your butter and melt. Once butter is melted, sprinkle in your flour and whisk until it looks like sand. Add a little bit of milk and whisk together, so it starts to become smooth. Add Some salt and pepper to taste, along with the garlic and Italian seasoning. Add the rest of the milk and continue to whisk until it becomes thick. This will take a few minutes. Make sure the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Once the sauce is thickened, add the Parmesan and whisk until cheese is fully melted and the sauce is silky, smooth and thick.
6) Pre Heat oven to 359F. In a large casserole dish or skillet, ladle a thick layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom of the dish. Take a shell at a time and fill it as full as you can with the ricotta filling. Place in a single layer on top of the Alfredo sauce. Fill the dish with the shells, until you can not fill anymore. (Squeeze them in there if you can). Top the shells with, remaining Alfredo sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan and tear the mozzarella and place all over the top of the shells. Bake in the oven until all heated through and cheese is melted, about 30mins. Then turn your boiler on low and broil the top until it starts to brown a bit and crisp. Take out of the oven and let cool and set up, for 10mins. Serve and ENJOY!