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butternut squash alfredo-stuff shells

I'm not a squash person. Ok, let's face it, I'm not a vegetable person. I'm more a, shall we say, carb kind of girl. So when I licked the spoon after whipping up this stuffed shell recipe . . . and I actually went back for more . . . I gave myself my own little heart attack. 

This recipe is courtesy of Ali at Gimme Some Oven, a genuinely kind and sweet food blogger from Kansas City that I met at Chopped Con. After she professed her undying love for Aldi, I knew her recipes had to be worth trying. Plus, this recipe has plenty of milk and cheese in it! And for that, we dairy farmers thank you. 

So if you're unsure of squash or if you love it, if you need an impressive supper sure to leave your family wondering why they've put up such a fuss about orange food for so long, this is the recipe for you. 

Trust me. 

Or as my dad used to say when making us kids try a bite of every food on our plate, "Have I ever made you try something you didn't like?"

Don't answer that.  

What You'll Need for the Shells 

  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces jumbo shells
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch cubes 
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 batch Skinny (Sage) Alfredo Sauce, recipe below
  • (optional: 1 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese)


What You'll Need for the Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
  • 3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

1) Cold? Freezing? Turn your oven to 425 degrees F.  This will not only warm up your kitchen but will also cook your squash. Double whammy! Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, coating it with cooking spray.
2) Place one medium peeled and diced butternut squash into a large bowl. Toss with  six garlic cloves and one tablespoon olive oil until evenly coated.  
3) Spoon the squash out on the baking sheet, and go to town with your salt and pepper shakers.
4) Fish out the garlic cloves and wrap them up in a piece of tin foil. (It's like a delicious smelling early Christmas present wrapped in silver!) Along with the garlic, bake the squash for about 20 minutes. When it's done, you'll be able to mash the squash pretty easily.
5) While the squash is doing its thang, cook six ounces of jumbo pasta shells. 
6) And while the gigantical shells are doing THEIR thang, whip up a homemade alfredo sauce the likes of which you'll see again. Until you make the recipe next. 
7) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium/high heat. Add four cloves of minced garlic, or if you're cheating, a big gloop of the kind that comes in a jar. Saute for about a minute, and then sprinkle with three tablespoons of flour, stirring continuously for another minute.
8) Add one cup chicken broth, continuing to whisk until the liquid is smooth. Add 1 cup milk. (Ali adds one tablespoon of fresh sage, but since I had none, I didn't. Good news: It was still delicious.) Let the mixture simmer, and then cook for another minute or it's nice and creamy thick. 
9) Add 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. The dairy farmers among us thank you. Then add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. balk pepper and stir. While your pasta finishes cooking, you can leave this mixture on low on the stove, stirring occasionally. 

10) Add one cup of the alfredo sauce to the mashed-up squash and stir. This is where licking the spoon really comes in to play. Just don't go too crazy. You're going to need this to stuff the shells. 
11) In a 9x13-inch baking dish (preferably of the vintage Pyrex variety), pour out about 1/2 cup of the remaining alfredo sauce. 
12) Now add some of the butternut filling to each of the shells, stuffing them nice and fully, and fill up your Pyrex, filling-side-up.  
13) Spoon the remaining alfredo sauce over the shells. Now melt one tablespoon of butter, and add 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a dash of salt. Stir that slurry up and sprinkle it over the stuffed shells. 
14) You're one step away from eating supper! Bake the shells for about 15 minutes. When the breadcrumbs start to turn a golden brown, do a little happy dance and pull the dish out of the oven. It's supper time! 

Level: Easy 
Farmer's score: Five green tractors 
Farmer's comments: "I can't stop eating these."
Notes: These were gone in two meals. We practically ate them with our hands. And did I mention? I don't even like squash. Or should I say . . . didn't. Because now I do. A lot.

Happy grazing! 


  1. These look great! Not sure that I can get my teenagers to try it though. My farmer loves squash, but adding the shells (anything other than elbow macaroni, spagetti or lasagna is too weird for him!), and the alfredo, may be too much for my picky household. May have to try it anyway, and invite some girlfriends over :)

  2. I made this on Tuesday and everyone in my family loved it! My 7 year old daughter kept taking huge bites like can I fit this all in my mouth and my husband who doesn’t like butternut squash had two big bowls of it. Thank you for another great recipe!

  3. I like the way you put your food in those vegetables. They look cool, thanks for sharing. your morocan chicken is excellent, thanks for sharing
    Regards: Eve Hunt

  4. Thank you for sharing. I would love to eliminate grains as well. Did you take out potatoes as well? Ok, what do you eat the squash with or drizzle on top? Loving it.
    Joseph Donahue

  5. I appreciate the thought that getting kids cooking helps to combat childhood obesity. It makes sense to me that a person who learns to cook with real food ingredients instead of a bunch of processed shortcuts will develop an appreciation of real foods. It also makes sense to me that a diet based on those actual foods will help people, including children, to understand what they are really eating, and I think that kind of consideration is one of the keys to overcoming obesity.
    Kelly Hubbard

  6. It is a good recipe and appreciate your effect. I will try this soon. Wish i can make great food like you. Thanks.

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