I usually get inspiration for a dish based on what I’m craving, something in my pantry/fridge, or something I see in the grocery store! This dish came about just from that. I have a bunch of leftover canned pumpkin from the holidays that I thought I could turn in to a nice sauce. Then while I was at the store, I saw farmers cheese which I have had a few times. I excitedly started forming these stuffed shells and grabbed the rest of the ingredients I needed! These turned out better than what I could have imagined in my head. The sauce is subtle in the pumpkin flavor which just a hint of sweetness that balances really well with the salty sausage! This was my first time making stuffed shells and it definitely got messy in the kitchen, but messy equals delicious, right?
- 1/2lb Pork Sausage
- 15oz Ricotta
- 1/2 Cup Farmers Cheese
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 2 Cups Spinach
- 2 Cups Milk
- 1 8oz Can Pumpkin
- 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Basil
- 1 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Oregano
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino, plus more for topping
- Serves: 4-6
- Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- Cook Time: 25 Minutes
- Total Time: 55 Minutes
- Let’s start by making the filling! Heat a large pan over medium heat and add a tbsp of oil.
- Once heated, add the onions and cook until they being to soften – about 5-6 minutes.
- Add in the spinach and the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Remove the onions and spinach from the pan and in to a bowl. Set aside.
- Add the sausage in to the pan and brown.
- Cook the sausage through for 5-8 minutes.
- Drain off the excess fat and remove the sausage from the pan. Set aside.
- Now to assemble the filling. Grab a medium mixing bowl.
- Add in the ricotta and farmers cheese.
- Next add in the onion and spinach mixture
- Then add in the cooked sausage, 1 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Stir until well combined. Set aside until read to assemble.
- Now to make the sauce. Heat a pan over low-medium heat and add the canned pumpkin.
- Whisk in the milk until the pumpkin and milk are well combined.
- Add in the pecorino, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Stir until well combined.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Add in the shells and cook until al dente – about 5-7 minutes. Drain the water and set the shells aside.
- Now lets assemble and bake. First preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- First stuff the shells. Fill each shell with 2-3 tbsp of the ricotta filling. Repeat this step until all the filling has been used.
- In a large baking dish, add about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread around to cover.
- Add in the stuffed shells in a single layer.
- Top the shells evenly with the remaining sauce.
- Optional: Shred some additional pecorino cheese on top before placing in the oven to bake.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Once finished, remove from the oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!