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Stuffed shells with chorizo pumpkin cream sauce

A twist on comfort food classic that’s great for feeding a crowd! These pasta shells are stuffed with chorizo sausages, pumpkin purée, basil pesto and three kinds of cheese including ricotta, fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

SERVES
4
 TO
6

Ingredients

Basil Pesto (optional)

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, optional
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1/3 cup (85 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Stuffed Shells with Chorizo Pumpkin Cream Sauce

  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 (100 g) chorizo sausages, removed from casing
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine
  • 1 can (398 ml) pumpkin purée, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup (310 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (250 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, store-bought or homemade from recipe above, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated fontina or smoked mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large handfuls (about 2 cups) leafy greens, such as chard, spinach or kale, roughly chopped
  • Fresh basil and oregano, for serving, optional

Directions

For the Basil Pesto (optional to make) 

  1. Add the basil, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil to a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and store in a sealed container for up to 1 week in the fridge or three months in the freezer. Set aside for pasta. 

For the Shells 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). 
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the shells to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and cool on a baking sheet.

For the Chorizo

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or oven-safe pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add sausage meat and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until golden brown and cooked through, about four to five minutes. 
  3. Transfer to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the butter and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for one to two minutes. 
  5. Add the Italian seasoning, wine and one cup of pumpkin purée.  Slowly stir in the milk. Add the chorizo with any juices; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

For the Filling 

  1. Mix the remaining pumpkin purée with the ricotta, egg and a quarter cup of pesto, pepper flakes and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, toss together the grated cheeses; add half to the pumpkin ricotta mixture. Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of the filling.
  3. Stir the greens through the sauce and carefully nestle in the stuffed shells. Scatter over the remaining cheese and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. 

To Serve 

  1. Spoon the remaining pesto overtop and allow the shells to cool slightly before serving scattered with fresh oregano and basil if using. 
  2. Divide pasta among plates, serve and enjoy!

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