I shouldn't be surprised by that, since I just inhaled the plate of food you see here :) You'd be stuffed, too!
This month, BakeSpace is hosting a recipe contest with Libby's. (Anytime I see a Libby's label I think of my poor cousin! Libby had to suffer years of torture thanks to their theme song, which now is stuck in my head. WTF.) We all had to create an original recipe using Libby's Pumpkin Puree, so today's belly buster is my entry. I've made so many pumpkin recipes in the past few weeks, I'm afraid I may get sick of it, but let's hope not!
Pumpkin Ricotta Baked Stuffed Shells
* serves 6
½ c.each: pumpkin puree, ricotta cheese, shredded parmesan cheese, and seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried sage
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ lb. jumbo shells
2 Tbls. butter
2 Tbls. all purpose flour
1 c. milk or cream
¾ c. shredded smoked mozzarella
6-10 fresh sage leaves
1 Tbls. olive oil
Cook shells in boiling salted water until al dente (about 12 minutes). Drain and set aside.
Blend all ingredients up to nutmeg with a fork until combined. Set aside.
Melt butter over medium high heat in a small saucepan. Add flour and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Add milk and stir constantly until all lumps disappear. Add smoked mozzarella (seriously, I am getting addicted to this stuff. It is so delicious alone, but it adds just the right amount of nutty, smoky flavor to other ingredients.), remove from heat, and stir until melted and smooth.
Spoon 1/3 c. of cheese sauce into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Fill each shell with about a Tbls. of ricotta mixture and place into the pan. Once all shells are filled and fit snugly in pan, pour remaining sauce over the top. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.
This last step is not really necessary, but I like crispy sage! It fills the kitchen with a lovely smell, and it adds a punch of flavor. But I suppose, if you must, you can skip it. If not, then heat olive oil in a small sauté pan over high heat. Add fresh sage leaves and fry until crisp, about 4 minutes. Serve shells hot with crispy sage garnish.
I also had a bunch of sauteed spinach with mine, and it was such a good lunch! I imagine it would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table, especially if you have vegetarian friends coming over or relatives who for some ungodly reason don't like turkey. They are quick and can definitely be made ahead of time, stored wrapped in the fridge for a day or two, and baked just before dinner time.
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