Herbaceous Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells Baked in Garlicky Tomato Sauce


#apartment5c : Herbaceous Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells Baked in Garlicky Tomato Sauce
serves 5-6

Back with another one! This is actually one of the favorite recurring dishes. There are a lot of steps, but taking each step one at a time helps with keeping track. Here’s my step by step recipe. Enjoy and follow @apartment5c

2 : sweet onions
3 : cloves of garlic
2 : 28oz cans of diced tomatoes (salt free)
1 : tablespoons brown sugar
2 : tablespoons white sugar
half can of coconut milk 

2 : whole butternut squashes
1 : box of pasta shells
1 : sweet onions
3 : cloves of garlic
half can of coconut milk 

grapeseed oil
bay leaves
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
sea salt
black pepper
granulated garlic
smoked paprika 

#apartment5c: I always get started with music. Sometimes caught in indecision or randomness, i hit shuffle and let fate decide. Other times, I let a mood, the weather, or nostalgia do the choosing. Music and food always make a beautiful pairing. 
#SpotifyPlaylist: sampled originals 

Part 1: breakdown squash & simmer tomato sauce
Start by breaking down the two butternut squashes: 
A sharp knife is key here. My method is cutting off the two ends so each end is flat, then cutting it in half about where the bulbous part of the squash is. That way you have a round part and a straight part. Use a peeler or peel it using a knife. Slice both portions down the middle and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy inside. From there you can cut the squash however necessary for the specific recipe.

For this recipe you’ll cube the squash into inch cubes (doesn't have to be perfect because it's all going into the food processor). Set your cubed squash aside and let’s get started on the sauce. 
Dice two sweet onions and add it to a large pot with about two tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Let this simmer on low. 
Chop three cloves of garlic and add this to the pot with two bay leaves. 
Season this with sea salt, black pepper, bay leaves, rosemary, granulated garlic, smoked paprika. Let this sweat on medium with the cover on for about 10-12 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Onions should be very soft and flavorful. 
Add two cans of diced tomatoes. Reseason with sea salt if necessary. Let this boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add brown and white sugar and half a can of coconut milk. Reseason with rosemary, granulated garlic, smoked paprika and sea salt if necessary. 
Simmer on medium-low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should reduce slightly. 

Part 2: boil pasta & cook + puree butternut squash
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once boiling, add two tablespoons of sea salt and box of pasta shells. Stir this frequency to prevent the shells from cupping together. Once cooked, strain and set aside.
Dice one sweet onion and three cloves of garlic and put it in a large pot with three tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Let that simmer and sweat until everything is softened. 
Add the cubed butternut squash and season with sea salt, black pepper, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Add just about a 3/4 cup of water and cover. Let it simmer on medium until squash is softened. Stir frequently. 
Remove the bay leaves. And taste to determine if the flavor is right. Maybe you want a more earthy taste- add more rosemary and thyme, maybe it needs more smokeyness, add some of the smoked paprika. You can really tailor the flavor to your liking here. 
Once the squash is softened remove the pot from heat. Carefully spoon the squash into a food processor or blender and add the other half can of coconut milk. Puree. You might want to add a touch of water to smooth it out more if necessary, keeping in mind you’ll want this puree to be scoopable. 

Part 3: assemble & bake
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Spoon ¾ of the tomato sauce into a large casserole dish. 
The shells should be cool to the touch at this point. Using a tablespoon, scoop the butternut squash puree into each shell and arranging them how you’d like. 
*Have fun here, you can make designs or patterns with the shells or just line them up all neat :)
Once the dish is filled with filled shells scoop the remaining tomato sauce over the shells. Bake this for 35 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

If you try this recipe, post a pic and tag @apartment5c :) 

Amanda Woolery