By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
There are many things to love about October such as pumpkins, leaves turning colors and pasta. Yes, pasta. After all, October is National Pasta Month. Pasta is a staple in my house – I always have several boxes in my pantry for quick meals and of course my children love it. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Best of all it is budget-friendly.
What’s not to love about pasta? It provides energy to our bodies since carbohydrates are the primary energy source for our muscles and brain. Pasta also pairs perfectly with a wide variety of vegetables and lean protein for a well-rounded, nutritious meal that is also filling. I generally go for whole grain or whole wheat pasta when I am making it at home, though there are times such as when I’m making lasagna or stuffed shells that I don’t. And that’s okay by me as it is all part of the moderation I strive to have in my life and diet!
Recipe Redux and the Pasta Fits Campaign have joined forces to sponsor a recipe contest to show how pasta can fit into a healthy lifestyle and diet. I certainly have my old stand-bys that I make often, but I wanted to do something different this time. I had a box of jumbo shells hanging out in my pantry that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while. I also had a butternut squash on my counter that was patiently waiting its turn to get used. And the rest of the ingredients also came into play because they were all things I keep on hand on a regular basis, so I didn’t even need a special trip to the store. Score! Stuffing shells does take a little bit of extra time, but it can be a fun activity to get the whole family in on, perfect for a weekend when you have more time. This recipe also makes a lot – a large and a smaller dish full, so it is perfect for feeding a crowd, freezing one to use later, or give to a friend.
- 1 large butternut squash (enough to equal about 3 cups pureed)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 10 oz frozen chopped kale, thawed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 box jumbo pasta shells
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place on a pan flesh side up and roast until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool
- Meanwhile, put olive oil in a medium size pan and heat on medium high. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add kale, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until kale begins to wilt and softens. Set aside.
- Cook shells in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Once butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor. Add the eggs and puree.
- In a large bowl, combine the onion kale mixture, squash puree, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese and sage. Mix well.
- Lightly grease a 9x17 baking dish and a 8x8 baking dish. Spoon the mixture into each shell, being careful not to overstuff. Place in the dish and line them up in rows until both dishes are filled with stuffed shells.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.