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Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto – Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.



Alternate title should read: Obsession with butternut squash.

Also, this casserole thingamajig has something to say: Take a BITE out of FALL. Y’ALL!

Happiest of Fridays, pals! How the heck are ya? Good, I hope? Happy to hear!

I’d feel much better if orange/yellowish food looked better in pictures, and if eating all the Halloween candy 2 weeks before Halloween was totally acceptable.

Dang Walgreens… I bought $90 bucks worth of candy and now it’s almost all gone. I did however use some of it for a couple of recipes for the bloggy, so it’s not the end of the world just yet.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

In other news, butternut squash can also be added to my candy stash. After 10 minutes in the skillet, I’m eating those squash-cubes as if they were bite-size snickers.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

I think it’s been far too long since I told you about how to pour cream over pasta and bake it. Also? I don’t enjoy stuffing shells – takes far too long! – and for that reason, I just didn’t. I figured pouring the squash mixture over a layer of pasta shells was good enough.

Lemme just say, I was SO not wrong!

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

A. You get more of the textured creaminess and less of the pasta. The pasta is just there as a vessel. Kind of like all the greens on the bottom of a salad. It’s not the lettuce you care about – the toppings are the ones rockin’ your world.

B. The tomato pesto!?? Holy smokes! This was totally unintentional, but pat me on the back for adding it in there because, there’s nothing else that this pasta casserole needs. As I found out, few dollops of tomato pesto is practically the perfect accompaniment to squash.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

C. Don’t forget the Chardonnay.

D. This is a great make-ahead meal!
Prepare the casserole as directed, cover with aluminum foil, and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
When ready, bake it at 375F for about 30 minutes.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

E. Happy Weekend-ing!

ENJOY!

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Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto | www.diethood.com | Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.

Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto

Katerina | Diethood
Saucy, creamy, delicious unstuffed pasta shells with butternut squash and tomato pesto.
5 from 3 votes
Servings : 6 servings
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 8- ounces pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic , minced
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh snipped rosemary
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese , divided
  • 1/2 cup tomato pesto
  • 1 cup Part Skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Prepare shells according to the directions on the box.
  • In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.
  • Add garlic and butternut squash cubes; season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently.
  • Transfer prepared squash to a bowl and set aside.
  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour; whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the chicken broth.
  • Stir in rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook and stir frequently until thickened and bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2-cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • Take a little bit of the prepared sauce and smother it on the bottom of the previously prepared baking dish.
  • Add the prepared butternut squash to the sauce and mix to combine.
  • Arrange the pasta shells on the bottom of the casserole dish in a single layer.
  • Pour the butternut squash mixture over the pasta shells.
  • Add the tomato pesto and spread it over the top with an offset spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  • Remove foil and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until a little browned on top.
  • Remove from oven and let stand few minutes.
  • Serve.

Notes

This is a great make-ahead meal:
Prepare the casserole as directed, cover with aluminum foil, and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Bake as directed.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 485 kcal | Carbohydrates: 52 g | Protein: 19 g | Fat: 22 g | Saturated Fat: 10 g | Cholesterol: 48 mg | Sodium: 721 mg | Potassium: 592 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 7 g | Vitamin A: 13980 IU | Vitamin C: 27.6 mg | Calcium: 452 mg | Iron: 2.1 mg | Net Carbs: 48 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked pasta dishes, pasta bake, vegetable pasta bake
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17 comments on “Unstuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Tomato Pesto”

  1. This was so delicious! Our family LOVES butternut squash. I have tried your butternut tart, butternut lasagna and now this. All have been total winners with our family! Everyone loves to see one of these dishes on the table! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. I tried this recipe…..its like eating a yummy casserole with the texture, cheese, tomato and warm comfort but then SQUAAAASSH. It hits you like a train. I know, it’s a squash based recipe but oh man, it’s just really hard to get over the squash/tomato/pasta combo. I think next time I’ll leave the squash sauteed on the side and prep a more traditional pasta dish. Then I’m not wasting all that precious cheese. Just my $0.02

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Hi!
      UGH,so sorry you didn’t like it. It happens. I have to ask though, why would you even start on a recipe when you don’t like squash? 😊

  3. Between the roasted butternut squash and the warm grilled chicken, this salad will definitely fill you up.

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