Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pumpkin Palooza, Part 2

The great thing about pumpkin? It's not just for baking. It's wonderful in savory dishes, too.

Back in October I had decided I wanted to make pumpkin cupcakes to celebrate my birthday. And it was in the October issue of Country Living where I found a recipe for Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells.

And Pumpkin Palooza was born!

I have to admit, I was a bit wary of this recipe at first. I have a recipe for manicotti that I don't make very often because of the work involved. Same goes for lasagna. (Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I've never actually made a lasagna simply because of the work involved.) Did I really want to embark on this adventure?

In the end, the appeal of the pumpkin was too strong so I made the recipe.

And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! It was quite easy and very delicious. As a bonus, I used a the 32 oz. container of ricotta and cooked the whole box of shells. I froze the extras and am looking forward to an easy weeknight supper, when all I have to do is bake the shells in the oven. Serve an Autumn Salad on the side, and presto! You have an fantastic meal!

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Recipe from Country Living
Working time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes 8 servings

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 22 ounces fat-free ricotta (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar store-bought tomato sauce (I used Del Grasso Three Cheese)

  1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread sauce in bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with about 3 tablespoons ricotta-pumpkin mixture and arrange in pan. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shells with remaining Pecorino Romano, and bake for 15 minutes more.

Note: If desired, stuff shells the night before and refrigerate overnight in an airtight container, in between layers of plastic wrap; arrange shells on sauce right before baking.

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