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Butternut squash and sage stuffed shells in cheesy sauce

Hello! Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days, but I had a hectic weekend! My boyfriend’s band had their single launch party on Saturday so there was a lot of sorting out to do for that. Check them out here if you’re interested!
Aaanyway, onto today’s recipe. I’m afraid it’s another pasta dish – I know that makes it two in a row, but it’s been a while, and I was having withdrawal symptoms, so you’ll just have to like it or lump it.
You may remember the roasted butternut squash and sage risotto that I made not long ago. Well, I had some leftover squash, and some leftover sage. What to do? Since they went so perfectly together before, I thought it was not my place to break up their relationship, so I kept them together and made these stuffed shells.
I sat these shells in a cheesy sauce – just enough to make them rich and creamy, without being too much – and topped them with a little grated cheese (of course). I like to only put the sauce underneath rather than pouring it all over the pasta, because then the edges of the shells go a bit crispy as well.
So this is basically like macaroni cheese, but with the added goodness of the squash and a burst of sage flavour.
As you can see, I’m not a very neat cook – it doesn’t bother me if the filling of these shells splurges out a little. I’m sure you could do it a lot more neatly than me though, if it really bothered you.

Butternut squash and sage stuffed shells in cheesy sauce

Serves 2-3

400g butternut squash (around half a large squash)
3 cloves garlic
20g butter
1 small bunch of sage (around 6 large leaves)
200g conchiglioni (large pasta shells)
50g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sauce:
25g butter
3tbsp plain flour
200ml semi-skimmed milk
50g cheddar cheese, grated

Chop the unpeeled squash into a few large chunks, and boil for around 15 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta shells according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and set aside.
Once cooked, drain the squash, and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel each chunk, and put in a blender with the garlic, 20g of butter and the sage. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
In a saucepan, melt 25g of butter, and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over a fairly low heat. Stir in the milk a little at a time, only adding more when the mixture is smooth and well combined. Add 50g of cheese, and once again stir until smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce into a suitably sized baking dish.
Heat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).
Stuff each pasta shell with a little of the butternut squash filling, and lay in rows in the dish on top of the cheese sauce. If there is any leftover filling, just dot it around the pasta.
Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the edges of the shells are slightly crispy.
Roasted butternut squash and sage risotto
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Monday 30th of January 2012

This sounds delicious and pretty simple to make hmm. I will have to give this a shot soon.

7_lizzie_7 @ lj

Monday 30th of January 2012

this is making me hungry. I'm going to make this later in the week. Could you use smaller shells, if bigger shells couldn't be found?


Monday 30th of January 2012

Hi! You could use smaller shells but obviously you probably won't be able to stuff them - but if you just dot the filling around the pasta it should taste the same! Big shells are pretty easy to find though, I got mine from Asda.