Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Before I begin, let me preface today’s post by saying I 100% support the motivation of those people who have newly joined a gym and are actually using it and attending group fitness classes. I will always cheer on any person who makes a commitment to their health and well being. That being said…

At the beginning of each new year there is a large influx of new members to gyms everywhere, and the one at which I am a member is no exception. Parking spots have become a little harder to find, but who cares if I have to park further because I’m there to work out, what’s a few extra steps? Upon entering the gym, the cardio and weight lifting areas also have more people utilizing the space, but I purposely joined this gigantic Mecca because even with the influx there are still open machines here and there most of the time. If not there is a short wait.

However, I start to get annoyed when I have to show up at least 30 minutes early to the group fitness classes in order to get in. Thankfully (being a graduate student working in a lab), my schedule is flexible to an extent which allows me to leave a little earlier in order to stake a claim on a bike/mat/etc. But sometimes even getting there 30 minutes ahead of time isn’t enough and that’s when I get really annoyed. When that happens I try to make the best of it and use one of the ellipticals that may be open on the cardio floor instead. But it’s just not the same when no one is in front of you saying “FASTER”, “MORE RESISTANCE”, etc.

Anyway like I said in the beginning, I could never be mad at anyone who is trying to do the same thing as me. So hop on that spin bike and afterwards, make these awesome stuffed shells for dinner! Cause that’s what I would do ;-). Serves with roasted brussels sprouts.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

One year ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks

Two years ago: English Muffins

BUTTERNUT SQUASH STUFFED SHELLS

Makes 20 shells, and serves approximately 4

Ingredients:

STUFFING

20 jumbo shells

2-1/2 cups cubed butternut squash

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1-1/2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese (I used cream cheese)

1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

BECHAMEL

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 pinch of nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

TOPPING

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

10-15 sage leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, flip, then roast for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and mash with a fork or potato masher until almost pureed.
  2. Boil water and prepare shells according to directions. Mine called for 9 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside to cool. While pasta is cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and shallots. Whisk until brown bits appear in the butter, then mash into the butternut squash, along with the mascarpone and and tablespoon of parmesan. Spray a baking dish (8×8) or pie plate with nonstick spray. Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of your shells) of squash into each shell, then lay in the dish. Repeat.
  3. To make the bechemal, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook until golden and a nutty aroma appears. Add milk and parmesan and let come to a simmer while whisking constantly. Once sauce has thickened, stir in nutmeg and taste – add salt and pepper if desired. Pour mixture over top of shells, then add mozzarella and sage. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Source: How Sweet It Is

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