Squash-stuffed pasta shells in cream sauce

We were kindly given some black truffles last Christmas and haven’t really known what to do with them! We decided to use them to cook something nice for C’s Mum’s birthday… Google said truffles go with mushrooms, but one family member can’t stand mushrooms, so we went down a creamy sauce route instead… This is rich and tasty, and makes for an excellent winter dinner.

Feeds five, with leftovers

2 butternut squash
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
Good handful sage leaves
500g conchiglione (big pasta shells)
50g plain flour
50g butter
400ml milk
1 lemon
Parmesan to taste
1 ball mozzarella
Two splashes single cream

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Peel and de-seed the squash and chop into 1cm cubes. Roast for around 40mins until soft.

Finely chop the onion, garlic and half the sage. Fry gently until soft.

Cook the pasta for 2-3mins until just starting to soften. Drain, and refresh under cold water. Spread out on a plate until ready to use.

Make a white sauce (melt butter, add flour, then add milk slowly until you have a thick white sauce). Stir in as much parmesan as you like, the zest of the lemon and a splash of cream. Add about 1/3 of the butternut squash, and blend to a pourable sauce with a hand blender. You might need to add some more milk – it should be about the consistency of double cream.

Mix the rest of the roasted suqash with the onions, garlic and sage mixture, and add the juice of half a lemon and a splash of cream.

Stuff about 1tsp of filling inside each pasta shell, and lay upright in a single layer in two big over-proof dishes.

Pour over the sauce, making sure you cover all of the shells. Scatter finely chopped mozzarella over the top and bake for 25mins, until bubbling and golden.

While it’s baking, fry the remaining sage leaves briefly in butter, until crispy. Scatter over the top and, if you’re feeling fancy, thinly shave a few slices of truffle onto each portion.

Serve with salad or green veg.

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