Pumpkin Alfredo Stuffed Shells

 

Fall weather is in its prime right now, and I am fully embracing the crisp mornings, sunny days, and cool nights that Mid-October brings.  With the season in full-swing, certain Fall staples must be adhered to:

Sundays dedicated to football.

Brown Riding Boots & Exaggerated Scarves.

Copious pints of beer.

Pumpkin everything.

With items 1, 2, & 3 under my belt – including a new cashmere leopard scarf that I’m obsessed with! – it was time to turn my attention to le pumpkin.

I’ve waited to hop on the pumpkin train because I wanted to do something original.  We’re all familiar with pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pumpkins.. I mean it starts to get a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Just because you can inject pumpkin into something doesn’t mean you should, and there are a plethora of suspicious looking recipes out there to prove it.  But after some necessary deliberation over flavors and composition, I decided to go big! with a creamy, sweet & savory pumpkin dish that’s as decadent and indulgent as it is delicious.  I give you: Pumpkin Alfredo Stuffed Shells.

 

blending my filling in the food processor

 

pt. 1: stuffing the shells – it’s a bit messy!

 

 

My thought process for this meal revolved around Pumpkin Ravioli – if pumpkin works well with ravioli, why not transfer that filling into a pasta shell?  The translation seemed plausible, so I decided to give it a go.

 

 

pt. 2: topping with first layer of cheese

 

Traditional Stuffed Shells are loaded with cheese, so I knew I would be heading that route with my pumpkin variety as well.  I settled on using a combination of parmigiano reggiano for sharpness and mascarpone for a mellow creaminess.  To balance out the cheese & pumpkin, I utilized a seasoning combination of nutmeg & cinnamon + salt & pepper to give the dish the sweet and savory profile I was aiming for

 

pt. 3: covered with sauce

pt. 4: topped w/ final layer of cheese & ready to bake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end result was a true comfort food: warm, filling, and deliciously aromatic.  It was the kind of meal that left you calm, happy, and completely sated – a real success.  Though admittedly a bit high in fat, I loved that this was a vegetarian dish packed with protein.  As an added bonus, this meal was fun to prepare and would be a great dinner to make with a group of friends – the more hands stuffing shells, the faster you eat!

 

Pumpkin Alfredo Stuffed Shells
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • FILLING:
  • 1 can Pumpkin Puree (15 oz)
  • ¾ cup Fat-Free Half & Half
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar Blend {packed}
  • 1½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano {divided}
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt – approx.
  • 1½ tsp Coarse Black Peppercorn – approx.
  • SAUCE:
  • ¼ cup Light Butter
  • ¾ cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup White Wine (optional)
  • ⅓ cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • PASTA:
  • 1 box Jumbo Pasta Shells (I used Ronzoni)
Instructions
  1. Begin by preparing the filling. In food processor, use dough blade to blend pumpkin, half & half, brown sugar, ¾ cup parmigiano, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt & pepper. Taste and adjust mixture to your liking (I added a pinch more cinnamon & salt) then blend in egg whites. Transfer filling to large bowl and store in refrigerator until needed.
  2. Cook pasta shells in large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for 5-6 minutes until barely al dente, then remove from heat and drain. Return drained shells back to pot and allow to cool.
  3. In medium sized pot, heat butter until boiling before adding chicken broth, white wine, mascarpone, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. Keep sauce at a boil for 3 minutes while whisking vigorously, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Pour a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish. Stuff the shells with pumpkin filling, then place one-by-one into dish. Sprinkle each shell with half of remaining parmigiano, then pour over with sauce, amply immersing all shells. Top with a final layer of parm reg, then bake in the oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Plate and serve immediately.
Notes
>> If filling texture appears too thin, whisk in 1 – 2 tbsp all-purpose flour to achieve desired thickness. >> Pasta shells should be cooked just over half-way; tender but tough to the bite.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 485 Fat: 16g Carbohydrates: 46g Protein: 24g
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baked, melted, & ready to serve!

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the butter cream sauce worked perfectly with this dish

 

these paired perfectly with a crisp glass of pinot grigio

 

great texture & taste

 

pumpkin perfection :)

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Pumpkin Alfredo Stuffed Shells”

  1. #
    1
    Nicole @ Healthy Way to Cook — October 16, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    Oh my goodness, I have to try this! You’re absolutely right about the pumpkin madness in the food blog world this time of year (guilty as charged!). This is refreshingly different. Thanks so much for posting!

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Family Foodie — October 17, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    These look amazing!

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Kelly Senyei — October 17, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    Oh my word! I don’t even know where to begin… I LOVE THIS! And I wish I could have a bowl for dinner!

    Reply

    • Christine Fischer replied: — October 17th, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

      Thank you Kelly!! It was very filling and VERY delicious :)

      Reply

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