Friday, December 31, 2010

Butternut Squash Shells

During one of the many times Brad and I have visited my brother in Denver, we went to a restaurant called Shells and Sauce and enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the patio. I had gigantic stuffed shells filled with tangy ricotta cheese, sage, thyme, and sweet cubes of squash.  Since I unfortunately live more than an hour away from Denver I had to create this dish in my 9X10 foot apartment kitchen and came up with this delicious version. 

This easily serves 6 people or 2 people for three nights which is great considering it is relatively inexpensive and Hey, we're in college after all! Also, using 1/2 ricotta cheese and 1/2 fat-free cottage cheese is an undetectable way to lighten this dish considerably. It is perfect to serve to company or to make and keep all to yourself to enjoy. Happy New Year's Eve everyone!!!

1/2 cup 2% mozzarella
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
15 oz container part-skim ricotta
16 oz container fat free cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
12 oz bag microwavable precut butternut squash cubes 
(I got mine at Walmart in the fresh produce but sometimes you can find them in the frozen vegetables)
1 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells
1 jar Classico sauce prepared from this Easy Marinara recipe
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 F
Spray a 13X9 glass casserole dish with Pam, pour a little sauce in the bottom, and set aside for now

In a large bowl combine the first 9 ingredients (up to the butternut squash) and mix well
Microwave the squash according to the package directions and let cool for 5-7 minutes, drain and add to the bowl with everything else
Gently fold in the squash so you don't break the cubes

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the box of shells (only cook the intact shells as any broken ones won't be fillable)
Cook the pasta for 9-10 minutes until they are a little more al dente than you would normally eat pasta

Drain the pasta once it is done, lay it out on some tinfoil to cool for about 5 minutes
When the pasta is cool enough to touch use a spoon to fill each shell with the cheese and squash mixture
Put each filled shell in the greased 13X9 dish filling side up, pack them in there as tight as you can
(It took 30 shells to use all of the filling which made for a pretty cramped dish)

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the shells, pour 1/4 cup of water around the edges of the dish and cover tightly with tinfoil

Bake for 1 hour, uncover for the last 10-15 minutes
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving

Servings 6
Per serving (5 shells) 450 calories

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