Take-out Tuesday, Triple Stuffed Shells with Roasted Garlic and Sage Butter

This is a “please try me” :star: recipe~ the triple is butternut squash, creamy spinach, and Italian sausage.

sausage and veggie shells thepaintedapron.com

It isn’t hard, can be made ahead of time, it makes a ton, and the flavor combination is so unique…it is  such a delightful change from traditional pasta with marinara sauce and it’s much lighter for the warmer weather


Roasted garlic gives it depth of flavor, you definitely don’t want to skip this ingredient!  Put your garlic in the oven first and let it roast at 400 for 1 hour while you are getting everything else going [or do this ahead and keep it in your fridge]


Buy prepared cubed butternut squash if you can, cubing your own squash is pretty labor intensive, so I gladly pay to have it done for me.  I got mine at Costco and forgot to note the weight of the package but it was a baking sheet full, probably 1 large butternut squash cubed, or about 4 cups


Put the squash cubes on a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil and salt & pepper and roast it at 400 for 30-35 minutes until it is soft and starting to brown.


Once squash is cooked, puree it with an immersion blender [or use a regular blender, mixer or food processor]


While squash and garlic are roasting,  brown the Italian sausage and drain on paper towels.   Saute chopped onion in a scant amount of the sausage drippings


For the spinach ricotta mixture, I used 1 box of frozen chopped spinach,cooked, drained and squeezed dry and 1 box of Stouffer’s Creamed Spinach, cooked, and 1 cup of ricotta cheese.  You can use 2 boxes of regular chopped spinach and 2 cups ricotta cheese if you prefer.  I just used what I had on hand


Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan~this is a good time to add 1/4 cup of Chia if you cook with it~ and salt & pepper


Add sauteed onions, roasted garlic and sausage to pureed squash


Combine with spinach mixture


Hopefully at some point during all this you have cooked your shells a little less than al dente.  You want to undercook the shells  so they will hold their shape when you stuff them.  They will finish cooking when your dish bakes


Stuff away!  In a cooking oil sprayed 9″ x 13″baking dish, drizzle a little 1/2 and 1/2 cream, about 1/8 -1/4 cup.  Put your stuffed shells on top of the cream in the bottom of the baking dish as you fill them.


Sprinkle them liberally with finely grated Parmesan cheese.  At this point you can cover the dish and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  Bake loosely covered at 325 for 45-60 minutes.

sausage and veggie shells thepaintedapron.com

Melt butter in a small sauce pan and add sage leaves


Let it get nice and bubbly


add lemon juice and heat~


Pour hot sage sauce over cooked shells in baking dish before serving

squash, spinach, sausage stuffed shells thepaintedapron.com

This is pretty much a one dish meal, of course some crusty bread is always great on the side~

triple stuffed shells with sage butter thepaintedapron.com

Garnish with some more shaved Parmesan too if you’d like~

stuffed shells thepaintedapron,com

Here is the recipe:

Sausage, Spinach and Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Butter

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8


  • 1 head fresh garlic
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 links Italian sausage
  • 4-5 cups butternut squash cubes
  • 1 box of Stouffer’s Creamed Spinach cooked*
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach cooked, drained, and squeeze dried
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta
  • 4 oz grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup 1/2 n 1/2 cream
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice


  • Cut off the top of garlic head and place on a square of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, wrap up and roast at 400 for 1 hour.
  • Put squash cubes on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season.  Place pan in oven with garlic and roast for 30-35 minutes.
  • Put squash cubes in a large bowl and puree with an immersion blender.  Set aside.
  • Brown sausage and drain on paper towels.
  • Cook onion in scant amount of sausage drippings until translucent.
  • Add onion and sausage to squash puree.
  • Squeeze roasted garlic head into squash mixture.
  • Combine spinach, ricotta and 3 oz. Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add to squash mix and stir gently to combine.
  • Cook pasta shells until just starting to soften, put not completely done.  Drain.
  • Spray a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking oil spray and drizzle just a little cream in bottom of pan, just to add a little moisture.
  • Stuff pasta shells with squash mix and place tightly in pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1 oz. Parmesan over all. Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  • Loosen foil before baking so dish is lightly covered and bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes until hot.   Melt butter in a small sauce pan and add sage leaves.  Cook 3-4 minutes and add lemon juice.  Cook 1-2 minutes longer and then pour butter sauce over cooked pasta shells and then serve.  Makes 8 servings


*Or substitute with another box frozen chopped spinach, cooked, drained, and squeeze dried and another cup ricotta
Keyword fried sage, roasted garlic, sausage and vegetable pasta, spinach and butternut squash pasta, stuffed pasta shells, stuffed shells with garlic and sage

I hope you enjoy!


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

Four Seasons Blog Hop

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Freedom Fridays

Show Stopper Saturday

17 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, Triple Stuffed Shells with Roasted Garlic and Sage Butter”
  1. hollybertone says:

    Hi Jenna – All of my favorites! Pinned and added to my recipe binder. Hugs, Holly

  2. Candy S says:

    This looks wonderful. My husband does not eat squash but this looks so good I might even be able to convince my husband to try it.

    • The squash really just adds a little sweetness that balances well with the spicy sausage and creamy spinach~just don’t tell him, he’ll never know! My son doesn’t like butternut squash either and he loved it! Thanks, Candy~

  3. This looks decadent! The butternut squash is the surprise flavor, and gives it a nice color pop too! I had to laugh because when I read the directions, my poor eyesight thought you said to “salute the chopped onions” ( you really said to “saute”). I thought, “that’s a strange step!”
    I think I may be including this recipe for dinner very soon.

  4. lulu says:

    Anything with butternut squash, spinach and Italian sausage has to be good. This is another of your recipes that will definitely make it to my table. Unfortunately it won’t be tonight as we have vegans for dinner.

  5. Looks wonderful. I love all the ingredients. The best thing I learned was Costco has the butternut squash already prepared! Publix carries it in around November and December only. I was so disappointed to learn this because we like it roasted as a side vegetable all year round. It is hard to cut up yourself if you have wrist issues like me.

    I love that you can make this ahead of time. THanks for a great recipe.

  6. Trisha says:

    Oh my this looks wonderful and so delicious…I may have to give it a try very soon!


  7. Another delicious dish, Jenna. Looks so good!

  8. Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    Quite different than my cheese, spinach and pasta sauce shells! Bet these are great:@)

  9. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    Looks amazing! And what a wonderfully tasty combination!
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a great week,

  10. Mary says:

    This looks wonderful Jenna, I love the combination of flavors! Butternut Squash is the only kind of squash my hubby will eat 🙂 I love the convenience of it already cubed. My Harris Teeter sells 2 lb containers of it year round, what a time saver and roasting it adds such great flavor.Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Michelle says:

    You had me at Sage Butter. (But the rest of the title sounds good too!)
    Stopping by from the Four Seasons Blog Hop.

  12. Dee says:

    This sounds wonderful! I’m definitely pinning this one! 🙂

  13. What a fun recipe…so different from most stuffed shells I see. So glad I found your site through Miz Helen’s link party. Take Care and I look forward to following along 🙂

  14. Miz Helen says:

    What a delicious dish of Stuffed Shells, love that stuffing. Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  15. Lorrie says:

    What a great combination of flavors. This would be a wonderful dish. The sage butter is the icing on the cake!

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