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Savory Pumpkin & Cheese Stuffed Shells

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Level: Easy

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Description

These shells are so good, and definitely not filled with your usual stuffed shell filling. I found a random can of pumpkin puree in my pantry and this proved to be a fantastic use for it. Pumpkin is so delicious (and healthy), I don’t see any need to save this recipe just for fall. Use this dish to convert adults who claim to not like pumpkin, and kids who claim to not like stuffed shells.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pounds Jumbo-sized Pasta Shells
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Divided, Plus More To Grease The Casserole Dish
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, Divided
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper, Divided
  • 4 cloves Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Italian Herb Seasoning, Crushed In The Palm Of Your Hand
  • 1 pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1-½ cup Small-curd California-style Cottage Cheese (see Note Below)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (canned Is Fine; Look For Solid-pack Pumpkin, Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
  • 2 ounces, weight Sharp White Cheddar, Shredded
  • 2 ounces, weight Parmesan, Finely Grated
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Parsley, For Garnish

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with butter.
2. Cook the pasta shells in a pot of salted water to al dente according to the package directions. (I like to add a splash of olive oil to the shells as they cook to help prevent them from sticking to together. Shell-shaped pasta has a tendency to stick together and once the shells tear, they are nearly impossible to stuff.)
3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; once hot, add the onion, half of the salt and half of the black pepper. Cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the garlic, Italian herb seasoning and nutmeg, and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. If any browned bits have formed on the bottom of the pan, add a splash of water and scrape them up with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and cool slightly.
5. Combine the onion mixture, cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, cheddar, Parmesan and eggs in a large bowl.
6. Fill the shells with the cheesy pumpkin filling (be careful not to fill them too full or the filling will ooze out when cooking) and arrange the shells in the bottom of the prepared dish. Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and dot the tops of the shells with it.
7. Cover the dish with a sheet of foil and bake until the cheese is melted, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the cover during the last 5 minutes so the shells can brown a little.
8. Serve hot, with fresh minced parsley sprinkled on top.

Notes: California-style cottage cheese: This style of cottage cheese is drier than the creamier Vermont-style cottage cheese. If you can’t find California-style cottage cheese, you can strain your cottage cheese overnight in the fridge in a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve fitted over a bowl to catch the liquid (place a heavy object on top to help it drain faster). Ricotta cheese is also a good substitute.

One Comment

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Avatar of afullplateahappylife

afullplateahappylife on 12.10.2013

This recipe sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

One Review

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Avatar of lisa82367

lisa82367 on 11.10.2013

I made this tonight – it was fantastic!!

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