Stuffed Pasta Shells

Sometimes when I awaken in the night, unless there is a very good dream I wish to slip back into, I utilize those waking moments to plan for the next day. The idea for this dish was conceived during one such middle of the night musing.

The other day this butternut squash pasta sauce caught my eye. The ingredients seemed healthy enough and I purchased a couple of jars. I don’t consider all prepared/processed foods necessarily unacceptable, to be shunned indiscriminately. If processed foods help save preparation time yet reasonably contribute to a healthy diet they are alright with me. I process food in my kitchen every day.

stuffed pasta shells

I envisioned using this sauce in ways other than with pasta but for today’s dish it was used with pasta shells. I “dry fitted” uncooked shells to avoid cooking way more than needed.

stuffed pasta shells

While the pasta shells were cooking I poured the butternut squash sauce into the baking dish and seasoned it with cumin powder and red chili powder (Kashmiri/Deggi Mirch).

stuffed pasta shells

For filling the cooked pasta shells I put together a few things I might normally use in a black bean salad:

stuffed pasta shells

stuffed pasta shells

The filled shells were arranged in the baking dish on top of the butternut sauce.

stuffed pasta shells

I roasted a couple of poblano peppers and blended them with pistachios into a sauce, using almond milk to get the right consistency. Since the poblano peppers were very mild I seasoned the sauce with jalapeño powder. The pistachios were already roasted and salted so not much additional salt was needed.

pistachio and cashew sauce

I poured the poblano/pistachio sauce over the shells and baked the dish under a lid until thoroughly heated.

stuffed pasta shells

I didn’t think the poblano sauce looked very attractive after drying out in the baking process so I spooned fresh sauce over it.

stuffed pasta shells

stuffed pasta shells

This was a very tasty dish with just a slight amount of warmth from the Kashmiri red chili powder.

stuffed pasta shells


3 thoughts on “Stuffed Pasta Shells

  1. Very attractive! There are a lot of jarred items like the squash that can be utilized without too much fear of contamination, and if the experiment is a success, then one can see about producing that ingredient from scratch the next time.

    Virtual hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m all for taking shortcuts without compromising quality. A lot of things that are easy enough to make from scratch can be used preprepared to save time. I like making my own tomato sauce but there are some great canned and jarred products that are almost impossible to beat. I guess I am not a purist. I just come as close to what meets my standards and think no more about it. Food is to be enjoyed and not anguished over. I am a hardliner when it comes to animal flesh just because my mind won’t accept that as an option because of a lifetime of conditioning. Beyond that, moderation with knowledge is the guide.


  2. Agreed about shortcuts – I especially like to try something out, and then decide if I can tweak it to our own tastes, or start over. I found a really nice jarred pasta sauce, but it was $6.00 for 17 ounces. It was on a Half-Off Table, so I gave it a whirl. It made a great pizza sauce, but was way too garlicky for me, so I had to use it only for DH’s side of the pizza, or make individual ones. Still trying to figure out how to duplicate that perfect taste without so much garlic.

    Liked by 1 person

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