Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells
This recipe is one of mine and my Izzy's favorite recipes! She's 8 years old and love to help stuff the shells! And she'll even eat the spinach:)
1 large butternut squash (or 2 small), quartered and seeded (reserve the seeds and roast them)
1 tbs Olive oil
3 cloves garlic
½ cup red onion, chopped (set aside 2 tbs of onion for the cream sauce)
½ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 (10 ounce) bag spinach
1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
¼ tsp salt
2 cups skim milk
¼ tsp basil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Boil squash until very tender and mashable (8-10 minutes). Remove squash and allow to cool slightly, then peel.
In a skillet, heat the oil. Sautee the garlic and onion until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Combine this, the squash, 1/2 milk, 2 tbs brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon rosemary in a food processor; process until squash is smooth. Salt to taste. You may also use a handheld blender, adding the ingredients into the skillet and process while cooking. Return to pan and heat through. Add parmesan cheese and stir.
Bring the water back to a boil, adding more if necessary. Stir in the shell pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still very firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Spread spinach over bottom of dish. Stuff pasta shells evenly with butternut squash mixture and place on top of the spinach. Bake shells in preheated oven until hot, about 10 minutes.
Sauce preparation: Cook onion and broth in a 1-quart saucepan until liquid is almost all evaporated. In a small bowl, whisk flour with the skim milk. Add to the saucepan and continue to cook, whisking, until sauce begins to thicken. Add wine and spices; taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, blend in a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a little shredded Cheddar cheese, and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until well blended.
Remove shells from oven, top with sauce, and sprinkle with parsley to serve.