How to make butternut squash, ricotta and spinach stuffed shells casserole

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Butternut squash is an amazing vegetable. It's difficult to peel and cut in half, but once cooked and broken down, it turns soft and creamy. That's what makes it so ideal for recipes that call for something velvety, and for the recipe that follows.
In this dish, butternut squash is cooked and mashed before being stuffed into shells and baked. Some ricotta cheese ramps up the creaminess and adds a bit of decadence to the dish, while spinach keeps things fresh and lends a pop of color. An amazing vegetable, made even better!
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Cooktop Cove
Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells Casserole
4
10 minutes
40 minutes
50 minutes
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
8 ounces fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces jumbo pasta shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 F, and grease a 9-by-13 casserole dish.
Toss the butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Arrange the squash on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until soft and easily pierced with a fork.
While the squash is cooking, cook the spinach. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, add the spinach, and cook just until wilted.
Add the garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pan, and stir. Set aside.
Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package directions. Drain and set aside once cooked.
Place the butternut squash in a large bowl, and mash slightly.
Add ricotta cheese, egg, spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well.
Spoon the butternut squash mixture into the cooked pasta shells, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and arrange them in the casserole dish.
Place the shells into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is hot throughout and the Parmesan cheese has melted.
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