perfect for a centerpiece or a jack o' lantern
Pumpkin Season is upon us and I am chock full of ideas for the next few dinners, desserts, and snacks - all incorporating pumpkin mash, pumpkin cubes, and/or pumpkin seeds. Of course, I'm NOT going to overload poor SB day after day with pumpkin dishes, but we'll certainly get our fill in the next few weeks.
because only a masochist with a machete chops, stews, and mashes their own pumpkin
Tonight, I'm in the mood for pasta, so I'm making these little stuffed shells that have a pumpkin/ricotta cheese /herb filling. I halved the recipe so that we don't have them sitting in the fridge for more than a day. That way, I can make more pumpkin-y things and not have SB crabbing at me. The recipe reflects enough stuffing for twelve shells - dinner and a lunch of leftovers. Perfect for two people...
lined pasta in a lined bowl
Some folks may bridle at this recipe, as it uses a bottle of prepared tomato sauce ... but I happen to like the consistency of the sauce and it is plain. It doesn't overshadow the pumpkin filling in the shells. What can I say? I like it! You can make your own homemade sauce if you like. Actually, you can play with this recipe a lot! Change up some of the herbs, play with different cheeses, add small bits of meat to the sauce or the filling ... I think this type of shell recipe is extremely versatile.
Here's my take.
lunchtime leftovers that were still really yummy!
Pumpkin and Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Shells
12 - 16 jumbo shells, boiled in salted water to al dente stage, drained and drizzled with a bit of olive oil
12 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. mashed cooked pumpkin (use the canned stuff)
½ c. Romano cheese, grated plus ½ c. more for sprinkling atop the final dish before baking
2 scallions, greens sliced into thin rings and white ends reserved for another use
2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, minced
¼ c. chopped basil leaves
¼ tsp. black pepper
¾ tsp. kosher salt
8 crackers (I used Ritz), smashed to crumbs
1- 26 oz. bottle of prepared Italian pasta sauce (I use a traditional tomato basil concoction by Bertolli)
Making the Dish:
1. Get a big stockpot of salted water boiling and then add 14 - 16 jumbo shells to the water. I always add more because nothing is more annoying than getting the shells made and finding that some have split ... pet peeve, what can I say?
2. While the water is coming to a boil, make the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, pumpkin, ½ c. of the Romano cheese, the scallions, sage, basil, kosher salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir it up and add enough cracker crumbs to absorb the watery juices that 'come out' of the filling after it sits a few minutes.
3. Pour the Italian pasta sauce into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch casserole and have it ready, at your work station.
4. When the shells are al dente, drain them and gently turn them back into the pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and slosh them gently to coat them with the oil. Cool them until you can handle them.
5. Place about 2 to 3 tbsp. filling in each of the shells and place them into the sauce in rows of three.
6. Sprinkle the filled shells and sauce with the second ½ c. of Romano cheese (or a bit more if you're a cheesehound!).
7. Cover the pan with foil and bake the shells for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and brown the tops for about ten more minutes ... broil them a bit if they're not browning, BUT watch them.
8. Serve with a nice cool green salad and some chilled Pinot Grigio ... enjoy!