Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Though Passover seems far away, I am already in prep mode.  Yesterday, I officially started food shopping for the holiday.  It hit me that I have loads of other food in my pantry that I need to finish in the next few weeks to make room for all the Passover food.  So get ready for the next few weeks of posts to be about dishes made from random finds in my cabinets...

Today's find? A can of pumpkin (probably from Thanksgiving) and a box of jumbo shells.  I absolutely love butternut squash filled ravioli, and Henry tends to like winter-squash, and of course loves noodles, so I figured I'd try to stuff the shells with pumpkin.  Instead of the standard butter-sage sauce that goes with squash ravioli, I opted to lighten things up a bit and make a pumpkin sauce instead.  The outcome? Henry happily ate half a stuffed shell.  His friends who came over for dinner, however, were not quite as enthusiastic - except for his 10 month old friend who couldn't get the food in her mouth fast enough!  Oh, and all the adults liked it too!

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells
1 (15-oz) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), 1/4 cup divided out
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash ginger
dash ground cloves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
18 jumbo shells, cooked
1/2 cup Imagine "No-Chicken" Broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons butter
1/8 tsp ground sage
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Mix together canned pumpkin (minus the 1/4 cup pumpkin), ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper.  Fill the 18 shells with the pumpkin mixture, and place them in a 9x13 dish sprayed with cooking spray.

3.  In a small saucepan, heat the broth, butter, 1/4 cup pumpkin, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer.  Then pour the sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle additional grated parmesan cheese on top.  Cover the baking dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!


  1. Very basic question - do you cook the shells before you fill them, or do you fill them hard?

  2. I cooked them beforehand...if you find a trick to filling them uncooked though (like when you can used uncooked lasagna noodles), I'd love it! I'm all about any new time-saving tricks!

  3. I have done them in the'raw' state - you need to over fill them to allow for the expansion of the pasta, the sauce needs to be wetter and it is best to cover the dish with foil so that the steam cooks the pasta on the top as well. I usually make up the dish & then leave it overnight in the fridge...the pasta absorbs most of the moisture overnight and appears almost cooked in the morning...I do find though that the pasta has a different consistency doing it like this but hell it still tastes good !!!!

  4. Thanks! I'll have to try it the next time I make shells.