Butternut Squash & Ricotta Stuffed Shells With Browned Butter and Sage Sauce
I am all about trying to find the perfect wine & food pairing lately and I think I found another keeper. For years I have been making this AMAAZZZING recipe and each time I put a new twist on it. For example: this time I made it vegetarian…a rarity in my house but other times I add sausage. It is WAY easier than it sounds and you can omit nearly any of the ingredients if you do not have them or are already a glass or two of wine deep and can’t head out to the store hahaha. Hope you enjoy this wine & food pairing as much as I do!
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
15 oz of ricotta
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 package of Jumbo shells (usually 12 oz)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced (if you aren’t a HUGE garlic fan like I am, you can do 2-3 cloves)
1/3 cup fresh spinach (this can easily be omitted if you do not have)
1 egg (DO NOT OMIT- this is the binding agent)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 stick of butter
10-12 fresh sage leaves (you can easily omit this- it brings flavor to the brown butter sauce but not a big deal if you don’t have it handy)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2. toss the butternut squash in some olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. At the ten minute mark flip the squash around as best as you can so one side does not get more cooked than the others. The squash should be tender and easily poked through with a fork.
3. While the squash is baking mix together the ricotta, 1/3 of the parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, spinach, egg, salt and pepper.
4. When the butternut squash is done cooking remove it from the dish and place into a separate bowl and let it cool completely. Once cool add to the ricotta mixture. I do not mash the butternut squash into a puree, but rather leave it in its diced, chunky form, however, some puree it then add to the ricotta mix. Up to you!
5. Cook your jumbo shells according to the directions on the box/bag.
6. Stuff your cooked shells with the prepared mixture and place them into a greased baking dish.
7. Cook the shells at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
8. While your shells are cooking prepare your browned butter sauce. Place your stick of butter in a sauce pan and melt it down. Once completely melted keep an eye on it as it can go from brown to burnt very fast! Continue to cook the butter at a medium to high temperature until the butter turns brown. Once the butter turns brown, add your sage leaves. The butter should be bubbling to the point that when you add the sage leaves it will quickly crisp them up. Once you add the sage leaves, let them crisp up for about 30 seconds then turn the stove off.
9. Once your shells are done cooking drizzle your browned butter sauce over the top of them. Add your remaining Parmesan cheese to the top of the shells.
10. You may add the crisped sage leaves to the top if you would like. They make for a great garnish and they taste yummy!
Wine & Food Pairing
For most pasta dishes I enjoy a big, bold red wine. However, with this bad boy I wanted something high in acidity and bright! This dish already has so many flavors to it than rather add more big flavors I wanted to simple compliment it with my wine choice. Therefore, I went with Stags Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. The refreshing flavors and high acidity made for THE PERFECT wine & food pairing!!! Bon Appetite!