Who doesn’t love stuffed shells? They are little pockets filled with cheesy goodness. Most commonly though, when you think of stuffed shells you think of the traditional recipe of ricotta, a red sauce and sometimes sausage or another type of meat. Because it is fall, we decided eliminate the red sauce and sausage and add butternut squash, pancetta and a light brown butter sauce into the mix. With a couple of other special ingredients, these shells were to die for. It’s quick and easy, and if it’s just two in the household you’ll have leftovers for a week!
Well I lied, we are still off of our Bridgeport kick, but when we were creating this dish, there was only one beer that we could pair with it: Stone’s Vertical Epic 2011 Edition. I personally think this is the best beer pairing yet. Zach may disagree, but who cares…we will ask him later =). Stone puts out a new edition of their Vertical Epic Ale every year, and they always release them on a special date. Last year was 11/11/11. This year will be 12/12/12 – which by the way we are super excited for. Vertical Epic never disappoints! For our pairing we used the 10/10/10. I’m sorry if this is getting confused. If you need further explanation feel free to message us =). This beer takes the aromas and tastes of white wine and beer and puts it in one special bottle. I think that’s why this beer pairs so well with this dish. If I were to pair it with a wine, I would have chosen a chardonnay. You get hints of chardonnay in this beer and it is just amazing; so smooth and sultry. If you don’t have a bottle of this lying around, wait until the 12/12/12 edition comes out and make the recipe then. I’m sure that Stone will blow our minds away yet again.
This recipe combines so many great ingredients into one. I have to be honest. I have never actually made your traditional stuffed shells recipe. Sure I’ve had them many a time, but never actually stuffed them! They are surprisingly not too bad to make! Sure they are a bit time consuming, but you get a groove going and time goes by in a snap of a finger.
We used a blend of roasted butternut squash, ricotta, parmesan cheese, lots and lots of garlic (of course), pancetta, carrots, spinach and a blend of herbs and spice. We topped it off with a brown butter sauce perfumed with special herbs right out of our herb garden.
The only thing I would have changed about the recipe I’m going to provide for you is the amount of lemon. If you love lemon then I would stay with the recipe, but if you are not a huge fan, then I would tone it down by about half. Zach doesn’t LOVE lemon (I may have mentioned before), so I think the recipe was a little lemony for his taste, but I thought it was the perfect amount. Adjust the amounts accordingly, the measuring doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re not baking now are you!?
I hope you guys found this dish as enjoyable to make and eat as I did, and if you don’t, well just keep it to yourself. Hehe just kidding, let me know! Always looking for ways to improve our great recipes!