SAUSAGE STUFFED SHELLS WITH BROWN BUTTER PUMPKIN ALFREDO

It’s FALL! For me, that means cooler temperatures, changing color of the leaves, bonfires, and pumpkin! Ok, for me it doesn’t mean pumpkin but for most of my friends, it does. I have never been a pumpkin fan but will admit that this sauce is REALLY good! It’s so good that I’ve been trying to think of other ways it can be used.

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Fall also means comfort food… thick, creamy soups, pasta, chili. This recipe for stuffed shells ticks the comfort food box.

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If you wanted a vegetarian recipe you could easily omit the sausage.

INGREDIENTS (FOR THE SAUSAGE FILLING)
1 pound bulk sausage, cooked
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, minced (3-4 leaves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced (3-4 leaves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch red pepper flakes

INGREDIENTS (PUMPKIN ALFREDO)
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

12 oz jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions (reserve one cup of the cooking liquid for use in the sauce.)

1. Prepare the sausage filling by thoroughly combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. To make the pumpkin alfredo, begin by making a brown butter. Heat the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter begins to foam and brown specks appear. Continue to stir until the foam disappears and it’s a medium-brown color.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for one minute until the shallots have softened.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta liquid. Stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes until heated through. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more of the water until you reach the desired consistency. The sauce will continue to thicken as it bakes.

5. To assemble: Add 1-2 tablespoons of the sausage filling to each shell. Arrange in a 9×13 baking dish. Spoon the pumpkin alfredo over the pasta. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15-20 minutes until heated thoroughly.

The steps for this recipe are very simple. If you have “littles” in the house, they will love being your helpers to mix all the ingredients.
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The filling with the sausage added.
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Look how delicious these look and they aren’t even baked yet.
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The smells of sausage, pumpkin, sage, and basil are better than any air freshener they could ever invent!

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This recipe has changed my opinion of pumpkin!

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