Stuffed Shells in Pumpkin Sauce

Love lasagna but hate spending the time to assemble it? Enter stuffed shells. These shells take far less time to put together than lasagna does, but taste exactly the same. In the spirit of fall, I used a pumpkin sauce instead of the more traditional marinara. Store-bought sauce speeds up the process, but you could certainly use your favorite homemade sauce, too. Enjoy!

 

Stuffed Shells in Pumpkin Sauce

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. jumbo pasta shells (18 shells | I cook 3-4 extra just in case some rip or break)

  • 16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

  • ½ tsp. fresh sage, minced

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • ½ tsp. pepper

  • 24 oz. pumpkin sauce (I used Cucina Antica - Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce)

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta shells until they are al dente, about nine minutes (or according to package directions). The shells will continue to cook in the oven, so you want them to be slightly undercooked. Once the shells have cooked, strain them and set them aside so that they can cool enough to handle.

  • While the pasta cooks, make the filling. Combine the ricotta cheese, 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese (save the remaining 1/3 cup to top the shells), egg, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

  • Spread the pumpkin sauce in an even layer over the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Fill each shell with 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture and place them in the pan (seam side up). Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the shells. Bake the pasta for 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly.

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