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Butternut Squash Alfredo Baked Shells

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Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

What is the best way to reach you?

If someone wants to get ahold of me, I always recommend that they send a text (or iMessage). Or next best would be an email. Maybe call. Possibly tweet. Probably don’t leave a Facebook message. And I rarely check my snail mailbox. But if you really want to get ahold of me, pretty please just don’t leave me a voicemail.

Gah. Does anyone else dread voicemail as much as I do?!?

I don’t know when I reached the tipping point with voicemail, as it used to be oh-so-cool back in the early days that I had my aqua-blue Nokia phone. And it has advanced so much in the past 15 years, now with caller ID and just a one-click push of the button instead of having to “call voicemail” and navigate through the system. But oh man, voicemail still gives me total phone anxiety. I even changed my voicemail greeting awhile back to spell out my email address and tell callers to reach me there. (Too far?)

Well, by contrast, instant messaging is quickly moving back up to the top of my list as favorite forms of communication. Love me some iMessaging on my computer (because clearly typing out a text on my phone now is far too strenuous). And love me some G-Chat. I may work from home, but on a given day I chat it with all sorts of people thanks to Google. Many of those are friends, but many are also other blogger friends, who serve as my virtual “coworkers” sharing tips and chatting about recipes and all sorts of other things all throughout our days.

One of the people I touch base with almost daily is my friend, Maria, from Two Peas and Their Pod. Our conversations tend to revolve more around life outside of blogging (and, um, Tim Riggins), but a few weeks ago we were talking about recipe development and realized that we both had recipes for stuffed shells coming up to share with you on our blogs. So today, we thought we would team up and share our recipes with you together!

Maria made these delicious seasonal Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Shells. And I made these guys pictured above — Butternut Squash Alfredo Stuffed Shells. It was a match made in G-Chat heaven.

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

Actually, the inspiration for my recipe came simply from the fact that I realized recently that I have zero stuffed shells recipes on the blog right now. Zero! I don’t know how this blog has managed to stay shell-less for 5 years, but that stops today with this delicious recipe.

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

And oh man, it’s a good one.

Most of the recipes I’ve ever had with stuffed shells are loaded with all sorts of cheese. But to be honest, I ate ridiculous amounts of (amazing) cheese at a conference I attended with Maria this past weekend. So I decided to pare things back with this recipe and instead focus more on the creaminess in the sweet, healthier, gorgeous, rockstar veggie of the season — butternut squash.

Love butternut squash. (Almost as much as G-Chat.)

For this recipe, I simply diced and roasted a big pan of it. (If you need tips on how to not cut your fingers off while chopping one of those babies, you might check out this tutorial.)


Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

Then I mashed it with some roasted garlic and my favorite skinny alfredo sauce to make an extra creamy filling.

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta


Then I stuffed it inside those shells and sprinkled the top with an Italian Panko breadcrumb topping. (If you wanted to make more traditional stuffed shells, you could sprinkle on a generous handful of shredded Mozzarella before adding the breadcrumbs.)

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta


And after a quick bake in the oven, these gorgeous shells were ready to serve. Look how pretty they are! (They even match my fall decor!)  ;)

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

Even though they were made a little bit healthier, I absolutely loved them. The filling felt decadent with all of that sweet and savory and creamy goodness, even when made with the “skinny” alfredo. And the shells were all the better when topped with the crunch of the Italian Panko breadcrumbs. Definitely a winner of an autumn meal.

And speaking of winners, check out Maria’s take on stuffed shells! Hers are stuffed with all sorts of delicious roasted vegetables and cheese and a classic marinara sauce. So if you feel like going the tomato route, I definitely recommend giving them a try.

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells | #pasta

Well without further ado, here is the first stuffed shells recipe on Gimme Some Oven. Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Alfredo Stuffed Shells

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  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x


This Butternut Squash Alfredo Stuffed Shells recipe is made with a lighter alfredo sauce, and is perfectly sweet, savory, and delicious!



Stuffed Shells Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoninghomemade or store-bought
  • 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 (see my tutorial here)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 batch Skinny (Sage) Alfredo Sauce, recipe below
  • (optional: 1 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese)

Skinny (Sage) Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (I used 1%)
  • 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


To Make The Stuffed Shells:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (greased with cooking spray).
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the Panko, melted butter, Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss together butternut squash, garlic cloves and olive oil until evenly coated.  Spread the butternut squash out on the prepared baking sheet, and season generously with a few pinches of salt and pepper.  Then remove the garlic cloves and seal them in a small pouch made of aluminum foil, and set the pouch on the baking sheet next to the squash.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash mash easily with a fork and the garlic is soft and fragrant.  Transfer the squash and garlic back to the large mixing bowl along with 1 cup of alfredo sauce, and mash together with a fork until smooth.
  4. While the butternut squash are roasting, bring a large stockpot of generously-salted water to a boil over high heat.  (*See tip below about starting the alfredo sauce at this point.)  Add the jumbo shells and cook al dente (or ideally cook until just a minute before they reach al dente) according to package instructions.  Drain.
  5. In a 9×13-inch baking dish (or I used an oval dish), spread out 1/2 cup of the remaining alfredo sauce in an even layer.  Stuff a tablespoon or two of the butternut filling inside each of the shells, and lay them in an even layer in the baking dish, filling-side-up.  Spoon the remaining alfredo sauce evenly on top.  (Optional: if using the mozzarella, sprinkle it on top of the alfredo sauce.)  Then sprinkle the Panko mixture evenly over the top of everything.
  6. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the Panko mixture is crispy and starts to turn slightly golden.  Remove and serve immediately.

To Make The Alfredo Sauce:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk and sage, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to use.
  3. (*For timing, I recommend making the alfredo sauce simultaneously with bringing the pasta water to a boil and cooking the pasta.)

Butternut Alfredo Baked Shells 9

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66 comments on “Butternut Squash Alfredo Baked Shells”

  1. Gorgeous! I just want to bite into that!

  2. If you love Tim Riggins, you should watch The Grand Seduction. It’s a sweet movie based on the life of a fishing village in Newfoundland where Taylor Kitsch plàys a doctor they are trying to recruit.

  3. Okay Ali, you are literally becoming my favorite food blogger, my go to for recipes I know I will like! This has everything I love in it, and its a great runner food too! I am pinning these FOR SURE!

  4. Let’s see. This dish combines 3 of my favorite things:  alfredo, pasta, and butternut squash.  I really don’t see how this can be anything but lovely.  Looks incredible!!

  5. Ha! I literally just saw Maria’s stuffed shells and now I’m here thinking about how I REALLY need to get in the kitchen to make stuffed shells. These look delicious, too!

  6. I completely agree with you on voicemail! Hate. It. I don’t even like checking my work voicemail – bad news bears, I know. I am obsessed with b-nut squash though and am excited to try this recipe. Pinning!

  7. i just had a convo with my friend the other day about why people still leave voicemails?!? I can see a missed call and most likely I will text or call back. Oh! I had that blue Nokia too! I called it box phone. What a great first stuffed shell recipe! I appreciate the whole not smothered in cheese thing. Really highlights that squash flavor!

  8. Happy Stuffed Shells Day:) Love checking in with you every day! I am always happy to talk about life, food, and Tim Riggins with you:) LOVE your stuffed shells. Can’t wait to make them for dinner! xo

  9. What a fun Fall dinner!  My boys would love this one!  xo

  10. My kids love stuffed shells! This would be great for our meatless Mondays! 

  11. Perfection! Love this, Ali. We’ve been eating more Vegetarian and SO loving DeLallo pasta right now!

  12. I’m so on the same page as you with the voicemail!  Excuse me while I go change my voicemail greeting to suggest shooting me a quick text.  Haha!  And I love how you kept these a little lighter, while still keeping them all kinds of amazing!  

  13. The only reason I love voicemail is that it enables me to ignore my ringing phone. If it’s important…they’ll leave a message. Right?

    These shells are so gorgeous!

  14. obsessed! Ali, I have to try these. I’ve been looking for new butternut squash dinner recipes to make! PS: gorgeous photos!

  15. These sound SO SO SO amazing!!!  I love everything with butternut squash in it :)

  16. I love texting too…mostly because it’s just easiest to have my phone by my side than be sitting at the laptop (babies.). BUT…boy is it a joy to be able to type messages instead. I have to start using G-chat more! I have used it with a few friends, but kind of forget about it.
    And…loving these stuffed shells! Such a treat! I actually stuffed some manicotti with butternut squash this weekend and boy was it a hit. That was a first. I need to make your alfredo sauce ASAP.

  17. Just picked up a giant butternut yesterday…hmmmm…;)

  18. Isn’t it great we can be so connected depending on what our personal modes of preference is? At first I thought chats/texts would be the end of all interaction, but it’s actually made me more in touch because I don’t have to spend a lot of time simply checking in. Speaking of, what’s new with you? Love butternut squash, love DeLallo, love your recipe as always. 

  19. These look fantastic!  Butternut squash is one of my favorite things to cook with in the fall/winter.  One question – how many pounds would you say a medium butternut squash is?  About 2 lbs?  Love your recipes!  :)

  20. Holy yumminess. I have a great family recipe for stuffed shells, but I LOVE the twist of adding butternut squash. Can never have enough squash in the cool weather :) Your photos are absolutely amazing, btw :) I love the one with the pasta spilling out of the box. 

  21. Love me some G Chat! I wouldn’t be able to get through the work day without it! Another thing I love? Stuffed shells.  I’ve been getting into them lately since they’re easier to stuff than cannelloni or manicotti, love this fall version! 

  22. What a champion idea to use the pumpkin for the creaminess. I am liking it. What a lovely looking dish too. It is shouting Eat Me and Enjoy!

  23. Only a few weeks into squash season and I was already bored with my stand-by recipes… thank you for the inspiration, this looks delightful!

  24. I loathe voicemails too.  My dad still calls and says his name and time he called.  Ummm dad my cell lets me know those things.

    Love this noodle dish.

  25. Loving both your and Maria’s stuffed shells recipes! I made pumpkin stuffed ones with an alfredo sauce, so I’ll have to try this too!

  26. This sounds so wonderful. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I agree, voicemails are totally annoying. Just shoot me a text.

  27. Why cant I “pin” this recipe??

  28. A few things to say about this…
    I also strongly dislike voicemail. The worst. Getting voicemails is almost as bad as leaving voicemails (which I only do when I have to).
    I want butternut squash in my life everyday.
    I haven’t had stuffed shells in forever, so I’m super excited about both your and Maria’s post.
    This looks SO GOOD.

  29. This looks amazing!

  30. That looks absolutely sinful! Can’t wait to try out. I love the combination of Sage and Butternut squash. Thanks for this recipe!

  31. That is too funny! When I saw Maria’s post on Two Peas and then yours, I thought, “Wow, what a coincidence that two of my favorite bloggers posted about stuffed shells on the same day!” And they both look so good. Now to decide which one to make first…..

  32. I was looking for some inspiration, well something different, for tonights dinner and came across this site. Wow have I hit the jackpot. You offer so much amazing looking dishes to make. I feel like a kid that’s been invited to the food shop. Thank you! Totally bookmarked. xoxo

  33. I am so putting this recipe on my dinner menu. It looks fantastic.

  34. Made these tonight and they were AMAZING. I added crab and it was delicious. Question about your alfredo sauce…I can never seem to make the “roux” without the flour clumping up, and they never whisk out. Any tips?

  35. Never thought it was possible to make a lightened up alfredo and it still will be delicious, flavoursome and creamy… but it is obviously possible! I definitely need to create this recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

  36. I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! Nice way to incorporate butternut squash in a new way, and the panko topping added so much to it. Yum!

  37. This recipe looks amazing, and I’m going to be trying it soon… but I’m surprised that no one has commented on the fact that it’s posted in “Vegetarian” title, but contains Chicken Broth. I know it would be easy to replace with veggie broth… but perhaps that should at least be mentioned in the recipe??

  38. Hi Ali.  Always looking for new pasta recipes for my triathlete husband.  This looks perfect.  Can’t wait to make.  Thanks.

  39. OMG this was amazing. It was so delicoious, my husband loved it as well which is always a plus. I think the only thing I might change next time is to double sauce. 

  40. I made these for a group of vegetarians the other day and all I have to say, everyone at the dinner party asked for the recipe!

  41. oooooooo there’s so much about this I love – pasta, Alfredo, butternut squash. Yes!!

  42. Wow! I made these and they were absolutely delicious! My husband, who isn’t a big carb eater, wanted to eat the whole batch. They are savory, creamy, with a touch of sweet. Best of all, I don’t feel guilty making it or eating it! Just in case anyone is wondering, you don’t need to add mozzarella. The recipe is fantastic! Thank you for this gift!

  43. This recipe was absolutely amazing! I mean seriously…this is what butternut squash dreams of becoming! The Alfredo sauce was so flavorful and really took this recipe to the next level. I contemplated when I was putting the dish together about whether or not to add the mozzarella on top and I am SOOOOOO glad I didn’t. That would have been a disservice to this dish because it was delicious on it’s own.

  44. Hi!  I’m excited to make this dish for our vegetarians this thanksgiving.  Just wondering if I could make the squash/sauce mixture the day before?  If so, what temp would u suggest for the final bake and for how long?   Or should I heat up the mixture in a saucepan prior to stuffing the shells?  Thanks!

    • Thanks Donna! We think you could definitely make the squash and sauce in advance. We would just bring everything out to room temp (maybe an hour or so before baking, and you should be able to bake at the same temp and time. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!

  45. Can any portion of this recipe be made ahead of time? I’m trying to lighten my day-of Christmas load ;). Thanks!

    • Hi Megan! You can definitely make the sauce and filling ahead of time, or even make and assemble everything a day before, and then bake. We hope you enjoy!

  46. I know this recipe is a couple of years old, but my boyfriend and I made it for Valentines Day and it was so amazingly delicious I just had to comment! I just discovered your blog and have been saving tons of your recipes to try. This will be put into the regular rotation! Thank you <3

    • Thanks for sharing Taylor! We’re so happy you and your boyfriend enjoyed this – thanks for giving it a try! :D

  47. Is this freezer friendly? I am due in April with our first child and I’m trying to get the freezer loaded up with some meals and this looks delicious!  If anyone has done it I’d love to hear how it worked out!

    • Hi Julie! Unfortunately we don’t think these shells will hold up well in the freezer (they tend to dry out).

  48. Both look good. I wouldn’t need such a big batch…what I do when I make meat stuffed shells is to make an entire batch to freeze and later thaw whatever number I need depending upon how many I am feeding. I do not bake them first. We just had company…my stuffed shells are ground beef, sweet Italian sausage, fresh basil, garlic, onions, cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. I use commercial marinara. So good.

    • Thanks, Karen! And we think you could definitely cut the recipe in half if you like or freeze the leftovers. Your stuffed shells sound yummy as well! :)

  49. I was just wondering, could you make the filling the day before? I”m thinking of making these for Thanksgiving and I”m looking for time savers for the day of because we know how hectic Turkey day can be. So I was thinking if I did the filling the day before, the day off all I’d have to do is boil the shells, stuff and bake, but I wasn’t sure how the filling would do overnight.


  50. I am trying this recipe for Thanksgiving, but am using pre-cut squash to eliminate the chopping process.  I’m wondering how many ounces of pre-cut squash are equivalent to a medium butternut squash?  Thanks!

    • Hi Elissa! An average, medium-sized butternut squash weighs around 2 lbs, so you will need about 32 ounces of pre-cut squash. We hope you enjoy!