Would you ever think to add pumpkin to ricotta shells? It’s random, right? But of course, as we know, this time of year pumpkin shows up in just about everything (I have a post about this very topic coming up soon…..talk about some major “health halos”!). You might think that pumpkin-stuffed shells are a healthy entree, but, really, it’s just a little extra vitamin A and other antioxidants, but overall not much. That being said, I still love pumpkin and love this recipe (and highly recommend it for your next dinner party). This recipe was so easy, even Nick could prepare it (Zingggg!!!). Sure, there were a lot of steps that took some time, such as stuffing the shells, but come on, the end product was worth it. The one thing I might change about this recipe is the amount of sauce. I wanted more, and Nick agreed. Maybe just save a bit to serve on top of the finished product once it’s on your plate? I dunno, I’m just a huge fan of red sauce, especially when it’s free of onion and garlic, and still tastes authentic and delicious (that would be the Rao’s Sensitive Formula Sauce).
- 24 Jumbo Pasta Shells **
- 1 tablespoon(s) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 22 ounce(s) (2½ cups) Fat-Free Ricotta **
- 1 can(s) (15-ounce) pumpkin puree
- 2½ ounce(s) Pecorino Romano, grated (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large Egg White
- 2 clove(s) Garlic, minced **
- 1 cup(s) Fresh Basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon(s) Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
- 1 teaspoon(s) Salt
- 1 teaspoon(s) Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1 jar(s) (26-ounce) Store-Bought Tomato Sauce **
- Cook pasta shells according to package instructions; drain. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Set aside and let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, pumpkin, ¾ cup pecorino Romano, and remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread sauce in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with about 3 tablespoons ricotta-pumpkin mixture and arrange in pan, open-face up. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil, sprinkle shells with remaining pecorino, and bake for 15 minutes more. (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.)
Nutrition Highlights: Under 350 calories (not bad for such an amazing dish!), and an excellent source of fiber. If you’re worried about the sodium (it’s high….) omit the added salt. There should be plenty of salt in the cheese, shells, and sauce, who needs more? When I make this again, I will omit the salt, for sure.
We topped the shells with some dried basil, for a nice photo. The dried basil was actually a pleasant surprise (delicious). I hope you make these and enjoy them as much as we did! And before you leave today, don’t forget to check out my Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo Goodie Bag giveaway. Check out all this loot!! Have a great Tuesday everyone.