Butternut Squash Shells in Brown Butter Sauce

Now I know what some of you are immediately thinking… squash?! I’m out! But please stick with me, these shells are filled with creamy delicious filling and topped with a BUTTER SAUCE. Yes. Butter sauce, rich and delicious melted butter infused with herbs.

Please take a chance, and try this recipe. It’s absolutely delicious.  So much so, that I got my fiance whom has refused to eat squash most of his life, not only eat this, but request I make them again.  There you have it, living proof that you need to try this recipe.

Read below, grab your car keys and run to the grocery store.  Your stomach is waiting 😀 Recipe is adapted from the fantastic Mel at Mel’s Kitchen.


Makes: 5 servings 5-6 shells each depending on height of filling, 509/cal serving


  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, cored and cubed (approx 650-750g)
  • 1 pkg jumbo shells
  • 1 small low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 pkg fresh sage leaves
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • spices: red pepper flakes, garlic cloves fresh, dried dill, salt and pepper
  • 1 jar pasta sauce, can use red, white, vodka, ANYTHING YOUR HEART DESIRES, I’ve tried them all 😀


  1. Make the squash BEFORE doing anything else.  Sometimes, I complete this a day in advance to make dinner the following night easier. Cut, peel and cube butternut squash, and place in pan at 450/45 mins to 1 hour depending on oven to soften.  Make sure it is mildly browned and soft to fork being inserted into pieces, then you know its ready!IMG_5274
  2. Place water on stove to boil to make shells, add a sprinkle of salt to water to help shells not stick. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When cooking, take 4 minutes off box cooking time, so pasta will be under-cooked and easy to handle.  Don’t worry, when finishing in oven will cook the rest of the way.
  3. Place frozen spinach in microwave to thaw as directed, set out 13 x 9 pan and place jar of sauce on bottom of pan.  You can use 1/2- all of jar depending on your level of sauce loving.
  4. Combine: egg, ricotta cheese, squash, 1/4 cup red pepper flakes (cut in half if you do not like spice), 1 tbsp salt and pepper, approx 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic (or powder if not available), 1 tbsp dried dill and spinach when finished cooking. Mix thoroughly.IMG_5284IMG_5286
  5. Packing the shells:  When pasta is done cooking, cook in colander under cold water, so it will be easy to handle.  Then use spoon to fill shells with delicious filling and line up side by side in prepared pan. IMG_5290IMG_5288IMG_5295
  6. Cook for 30 minutes.  When shells are finished, remove from oven, and make butter sauce to top.  If you are serving later, make sauce when re-heating.
  7. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in frying pan.  Add fresh sage and cook until browning and leaves shrink.  When sage reaches desired texture, REMOVE FROM HEAT and add lemon juice.  WARNING THIS WILL SPLASH, be careful! Then pour sauce directly over cooked shells.IMG_5297 (2)IMG_5298
  8. Dish out and enjoy!IMG_5302

Happy cooking, and of course eating, until next time! 😀


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