Cheesy butternut and spinach stuffed shells topped with more cheese and crispy prosciutto is a perfect weeknight dinner. This recipe is all about those comfort flavors we crave as fall sets in. The days are growing shorter, the days are blissfully chilly and the leaves are falling. The sweetness savory of the butternut squash, nutty cheese and the salty prosciutto is a match made in heaven. And we can all agree stuffed shells are always delicious.
Stuffed Shells – Butternut Squash Purée
Butternut squash can achieved in many different ways.
- Buy a fresh butternut squash, peel, slice, remove the seeds and roast in the oven until it’s fork tender and then blend into a purée.
- Buy frozen butternut squash chunks, using the instruction on the package, roast in the oven and then blend into a purée.
- Buy canned butternut squash purée, make sure it is not seasoned.
This recipe uses about two cups (15oz) of purée, you will most likely have leftover butternut squash if you get a fresh squash. If you have leftovers, here are my two top favorite recipes to make! – Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese and Butternut and Kale Quesadillas.
The Béchamel Sauce (aka yummy white cheese sauce)
It’s so easy to make and ties this whole dish together. The shallot, garlic and a splash of white wine enhances the warm comfort flavors and gives the dish a little feeling of nostalgia. It’s really simple and comes together in just a few minutes.
Cheesy Butternut & Spinach Stuffed Shells with Crispy Prosciutto
- 12 oz Jumbo Shells
- 10 oz Frozen Spinach - defrosted
- 2 cups Butternut Squash Purée (15 oz can)
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- ½ cup Ricotta Cheese
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 Shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves Galic - minced divided
- ¼ cup Butter
- a splash White Wine (about 2 TBSP)
- ¼ cup AP Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- ½ cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 3 oz Prosciutto
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- In a large pot, in boiling salted water, cook your pasta shells until al dente. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- Between two paper towels, squeeze and pat dry your defrosted spinach and set aside.
- In a bowl, add your butternut squash purée, spinach, nutmeg, a pinch (¼ tsp) of salt and ricotta cheese. Stir until combined. Set Aside.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, add your shallot, a pinch (¼ tsp) of salt, your minced garlic and butter. Let butter melt and the shallot sweat until translucent and fragrant about 1 minute.
- Add in your splash of white wine (optional). Let it cook down for about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine, it should resemble wet sand.
- Add in your milk. Stir or whisk to get out the lumps to make it smooth. Add in your chicken stock Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and immediately stir in your shredded mozzarella cheese, stir until melted throughly and combined.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- In a 9x13 casserole dish, pour 1/2 of your white cheese sauce on the bottom, spoon to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Spoon in a heaping spoonful of filling into each shell and place them down into the casserole dish on top of the white cheese sauce.
- Complete this step until the casserole dish is full with one layer of stuffed shells. You may not use all of the shells.
- Spoon the remaining ½ of the white cheese sauce on top of the stuffed shells. Spread it across as much as you can.
- Top with prosciutto and sprinkle on your grated Parmesan cheese.
- Baked for 25 minutes, until it's hot all the way through and the prosciutto is crispy.