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Pumpkin Stuffed Shells with Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce

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Taking Comfort Food to a Whole New Level!
Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Roasted Pumpkin, Fresh Spinach, Shiitake Mushrooms in a Creamy Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce. Delizioso!

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells ready to pop into the oven.
Yum! Wonderful flavors with cubed sweet pumpkin and a smoky mozzarella in the filling.

I visited Arthur Avenue in “da” Bronx last week ~ a food loving Italian section with real charm and truly very authentic. Sure tourists are abound; four lovely ladies from Venice were sitting next to us at the indoor take-out /restaurant Mike’s deli.

I was so inspired with the vast array of locals selling imports from Italy – cheeses, pastas, pastry, meats, produce and everything else you can imagine. Generations of Italian families have given the area a special small-town character unique for an urban setting.

Immediately I knew I would stuff pasta shells eyeing the tall bags of Lumaconi Giganti Pasta Shells – a cool “snail shape.” Italian bronze- cut dried pastas are unparalleled!

In the sprawling section of produce in the Arthur Avenue Marketplace I was thrilled to find big, fat green spinach bunches, 2 for $3!! It has been so difficult to find good spinach these days… ever tried to sauté baby spinach? – yuck! I found Fresh Ricotta Cheese at Teitel Brothers Grocery, their own imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dried Sicilian Oregano on the Stem and the most outstanding Smoked Mozzarella – that was soft and creamy.
I did buy an organic Sugar Pumpkin at Whole Foods on my trip home.

For the recipe – there are a few steps to follow. All worth your effort!

  • Make the Creamy Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce and set aside.
  • Cook the pumpkin, sliced in the oven (the skins will easily peel off!)
  • Cook the Pasta Shells al dente (they will cook further in the oven stuffed.
  • Make the filling.
  • Stuff the Shells – add on top of the sauce in the pan, cover and bake.

The perfect recipe for a weeknight meal accompanied with a leafy salad or an interesting side dish for your Thanksgiving Buffet!

Sugar Pumpkin sliced and ready to cook
Ingredients for the dish
Peel off the pumpkin skins and dice the flesh
Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce is simple to prepare (see my recipe)
A flavorful Filling: Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Pumpkin (mashed and cubed), Spinach and Shiitake Mushrooms with Shallots and Garlic
Fold in Parmesan and Smoked Mozarella
Add nutmeg and sage for depth of flavor
Stuffed Shells fitted snugly over the Alfredo Sauce – ready to bake
A close-up look!
An Italian craving with Fall flavors

Mangia!!
Karen

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