Butternut Squash and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells bake…best for nights when you’re craving Italian, but also craving those cozier fall flavors. Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with herb roasted butternut squash and ricotta cheese. Then baked in classic a marinara sauce that’s simple and so delicious. This is a great fall pasta to serve any night of the week – or for your next Saturday night dinner party!
It’s that time of year when our weather is really starting to turn cooler. The mornings and nights are cool and crisp, but the days are warm and sunny. It’s actually the most ideal weather you could ask for and has me so excited for the upcoming fall season.
I know many of you are still experiencing very hot days. But with fall just about one week away, the days will soon turn cooler for all of us. And when that happens, we’ve got your first fall pasta bake all ready to go.
I’m not ready for pumpkin just yet, but the autumn squash crops are harvesting. Which means acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash are at their peak. I’m a fan of all fall squash. But butternut is almost always the first I roast up each season. And this year it’s in the form of these delicious pasta shells.
The quick details – the squash
What I love so much about this recipe is that while it looks fancy, it’s really pretty easy to create. Start with the squash, cut it into cubes, then toss it with fresh thyme and chili flakes.
Then take some prosciutto and drape it over the squash and throw everything into the oven to bake. While the squash is roasting it begins to caramelize down and the prosciutto turns extra crispy.
Now that cheese mix
Once the squash has finished roasting set the prosciutto aside. Then combine the squash with the ricotta and fontina cheese. If you’d like to make the cheese mix even creamier, you could puree the squash in a food processor. I just didn’t think it was all that necessary of a step.
From here, you’ll want to stuff your pasta shells with that delicious cheese mix.
The marinara sauce
I’ve said this before, but I am a huge fan of using store-bought marinara sauce. Especially if you can find yourself an awesome brand like Mezzetta. Mezzetta is a brand that’s been in my kitchen from the time I was a baby to now. My dad used their jarred olives and peppers since before I was born. So their products have always been a staple in my kitchen.
I was so excited when Mezzatta recently released their line of Artisan Ingredients® pasta sauces. I knew they’d soon become pantry staples for me. My favorites are their Italian Plum Tomato Marinara and their Spicy Italian Plum Tomato Marinara – which is what I used in today’s pasta.
It’s the simplest blend of tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. The spicy version has Calabrian chili peppers added, which we all LOVE.
Spoon the marinara sauce into a baking dish, add the stuff shells, a little more marinara, and top with cheese. Then just bake until the pasta is golden and the cheese has melted.
Hello to cheesy butternut squash pasta perfection.
The butternut squash lends a creamy texture to the cheese mix and the marinara sauce adds classic Italian flavors. The combination together is perfect for fall!
One of my new favorite fall recipes!
Looking for September pasta recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make these Butternut Squash and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Butternut Squash and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Calories Per Serving: 414 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash (1 small squash)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch each kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 ounces prosciutto (omit if vegetarian)
- 1 pound jumbo shells
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded fontina or provolone cheese
- 4 cups Mezzetta Artisan Ingredients Marinara Sauce
- 8 ounces mozzarella, torn
- fresh basil, for serving
- 1. Preheat oven to 425° F. On a baking sheet, toss together the olive oil, butternut squash, thyme, and a pinch each of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Lay the prosciutto over the squash. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the prosciutto is crispy. Remove the prosciutto and set aside. If squash needs more time, return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender.2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain.3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, and roasted butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper. 4. To assemble, spoon 2-3 cups marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Stuff each shell with 1 tablespoon of the cheese and place into the baking dish with sauce. Top with the remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. 5. Serve the shells topped with prosciutto and basil. Enjoy!