"not so Italian" Butternut Stuffed Shells



  1. 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells (1 box)
  2. 18 ounces butternut squash (2 boxes frozen, Birds Eye has 9 oz boxes, you need 3 cups) or 18 ounces winter squash (2 boxes frozen, Birds Eye has 9 oz boxes, you need 3 cups)
  3. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  4. 12 cup scallion, green and whites
  5. 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  6. 13 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
  7. 1 shallot, minced (small)
  8. 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
  9. 1 tablespoon orange zest
  10. 3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped fine (1 1/2 for the filling, 1 1/2 for garnish)
  11. 1 cup walnuts (fine chopped as a garnish)
  12. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  13. 12 teaspoon ground black pepper
  14. 14 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  15. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  16. 4 tablespoons butter
  17. 4 tablespoons flour
  18. 2 cups heavy cream (you can substitute milk if you want to cut fat)
  19. 1 12 cups milk
  20. 14 teaspoon nutmeg
  21. 18 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  22. 12 teaspoon kosher salt
  23. 14 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Filling -- In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and scallion, just a minute or two.
  2. Add the orange liquor, orange zest, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and fresh sage.
  3. Cook just a minute until well coated, transfer to a large bowl and set to the side.
  4. Filling II -- Now in that same pan, add the butternut squash thawed right out of the box and just cook 1-2 minutes just to heat up and get any additional moisture out of the squash.
  5. Remove that and add to the bowl with the vegetables and bread crumbs.
  6. Add the ricotta in and mix well.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Pasta -- Cook the shells according to directions, however I remove a bit sooner as they will continue cooking in the oven.
  9. Just shy of being done.
  10. Remove from the heat, drain, cool and then stuff with the squash mixture.
  11. Bechamel Sauce -- In a small pot, add the butter and let melt on medium heat.
  12. Now add the flour to make a roux and cook just a minute to get the flour taste out.
  13. Add the cream and milk slowly and bring up to heat and let the sauce thicken.
  14. Add the seasoning and just let simmer till nice and creamy.
  15. Stuff and Bake -- Put the dish together and bake your shells.
  16. Oven to 375 preheated.
  17. Then spray a 13x9" casserole dish and put approximately 1 cup of the sauce on the bottom.
  18. Then line up your shells on top of the sauce.
  19. Top your shells with the bechamel and bake approximately 25 minutes covered for the first 15 then remove foil so they brown up.
  20. Let set just a few minutes 5 or so to set up, serve and top with any leftover sauce in the pan, sage and walnuts.