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Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce- a delicious fall-inspired dinner that is comforting and warming. 
Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce- a delicious fall-inspired dinner that is comforting and warming. 
This recipe for Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sauce can be made with Italian sausage or mushrooms. The creamy sauce is made from roasted pumpkin, though most any winter squash would work well here too.
Winter squash, including pumpkin, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, Hubbard, and delicata, just to name a few- are grown in summer, and harvested in fall, but are called “winter” squash, for their ability to be stored in winter for weeks- without refrigeration.
Their thick-skinned exteriors house a sweet creamy interior- quite unexpected if judging only by appearances.

And it’s this creamy, rich quality that makes them perfect for sauces.

Though winter squash can vary greatly on the outside, with different shapes, sizes, and colors ranging from orange to yellow to whites to subtle blues and deep greens, interestingly, they are all similar on the inside- with orange-yellow flesh and a center full of seeds.


How to make Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Step 1:  Roast the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds, place it on a  parchment lined sheet pan and roast in 425F oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a fork.

Yes, you can use canned pumpkin puree. 🙂

Step 2: Make the filling. For the stuffed shells, I used a turkey Italian sausage and mushrooms and folded in ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
Again, this could easily be made vegetarian by using all mushrooms or subbing a plant-based chorizo or plant-based sausage!
A delicious recipe for stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce, with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin parmesan sauce. |
Step 3: Cook the shells. 
Step 4: Make the Pumpkin Sauce 
A delicious recipe for stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce, with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin parmesan sauce. |
When the winter squash is tender scoop out the flesh onto a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
It’s a snap!

Step 5: Assemble and Bake!

Pour a little sauce on the bottom of a greased baking dish.

Stuff the shells and place them over the sauce.
A delicious recipe for stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce, with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin parmesan sauce. |

You can use one large baking dish or several small individual baking dishes.

A delicious recipe for stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce, with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin parmesan sauce. |
Pour a little more Pumpkin Sauce over the shells and bake!
Remove the foil and bake or broil for just a few more minutes to brown them up a little.
A delicious recipe for stuffed shells with pumpkin sauce, with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin parmesan sauce. |

On the homefront: Like fireworks in the night sky, they exploded over our heads, raining down seeds and guts and orange flesh. This is what happens when you play pumpkin baseball.

I never knew smashing pumpkins could be so much fun! Perhaps a bit irreverent, but soon they would become mulch anyhow- so we started the process a few days early.

A golden light-filled afternoon spent outside with friends – pressing fresh apples into cider, pumpkin picking, and pumpkin carving -turned into an unforgettable evening. After dinner, a scavenger hunt entertained the kids, then a jack-o-lantern contest with pumpkin faces all aglow in the dark.

Before the night ended, we took to the lawn. Pumpkin baseball! Organized lines of pitchers and batters sprayed pumpkin bits across the starry night towards the pumpkin patch. It was messy, beautiful, and exhilarating and for a few fleeting minutes, I felt like a kid again, giddy!

Wish you moments of pure joyous giddiness this weekend.



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Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce |

Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sauce


Stuffed shells with Italian sausage (or substitute mushrooms) and a creamy flavorful Pumpkin Parmesan sauce.


Units Scale
  • 2 cups roasted pumpkin (or any winter squash like acorn, kuri, delicata, butternut…. or use canned pumpkin puree)
  • 24 large pasta “shells” about 10 oz
  • 16 oz Spicy Italian sausage ( turkey sausage, or plant-based sausage or ground plant-based meat)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic- minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, finely chopped, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons toasted Pine nuts ( optional)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/41/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk or nut milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar or maple
  • pinch white pepper
  • fresh grated nutmeg or 1/2 tsp ground


  1. 425 F Oven
  2. Roast winter squash: cut it in half, scrape out seeds and roast open side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 35-45 minutes, until easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
  3. In the meantime, boil water for shells, and cook shells according to directions. Drain, coat with olive oil and set aside.
  4. Make the filling: Brown the sausage in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Set aside on a paper-lined plate. Wipe out skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and saute onions over med heat until golden and tender. Add garlic and optional mushrooms. Saute on med-low heat until mushrooms are tender. Add sage, saute for one minute and turn heat off. Place sausage back in to the pan and stir in pine nuts (optional), ricotta and mozzarella. Taste for salt ( some sausage is saltier than others) and add 1/4- 1/2 tsp kosher salt -if needed, and cracked pepper.  Stir and set aside.  See notes for vegetarian version.
  5. Make the Pumpkin Sauce: When the pumpkin is done, remove from oven, turn heat down to 350.  Spoon out 2 cups of roasted squash into a blender with cold chicken stock, milk, Parmesan, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, nutmeg and pepper. Blend until very smooth and silky.
  6. In a large greased baking dish ( or individual ramekins) pour enough sauce to coat the bottom. Stuff the shells and place them in the baking dish over the sauce.
  7. Pour more sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 F until heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 10 minutes. You could add more cheese or any remaining sauce to the top at this point.
  8. Enjoy!


To keep this vegetarian, sub vegan chorizo, or just use 1 lb pound of mushrooms sauteed.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 495
  • Sugar: 7.6 g
  • Sodium: 820.6 mg
  • Fat: 15.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53.8 g
  • Fiber: 5.8 g
  • Protein: 29.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 50.1 mg

Keywords: Baked shells, pumpkin sauce, baked shells with sausage, italian sausage baked shells, creamy pumpkin sauce

A delicious fall recipe for Stuffed Shells with a Creamy Pumpkin Parmesan Tasty! |
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  1. Delicious! I loved how easy and flavorful the sauce was. I used the flesh of a roasted heirloom pumpkin which gave the sauce a vibrant orange color. I used both sausage and mushrooms in the filling. The added texture and flavor of the pine nuts in the filling were nice. It was a rich, comforting and delicious dish.

  2. When my children were in grade school, we played “Apple Splat Baseball” with the mealy/buggy apples. They LOVED the explosion on impact! I can’t wait to try this soon with the pumpkin that has been sitting on my entry table as a fall decoration.

  3. I want to make this recipe for my vegetarian neighbor by adding mushrooms as you suggested. Is the 8oz in recipe enough or do I need to add more and if so, how much.

  4. This recipe looks wonderful! I want to share it with a non-dairy-eating friend. Can nondairy cheeses be substituted here successfully?

    1. HI Margie- Yes I think it should be fine! Your friend could make our tofu riccotta and then buy vegan cheese for the rest. 🙂

  5. This recipe is the bomb! This will be the second year I make a huge batch.
    I buy high end (Le Crueset or Staub) bakeware, fill each with this recipe and freeze (it freezes nicely). Each of my three adult children and their significant others LOVE this as a Christmas gift, and I love giving it.

  6. Absolutely delicious. I substituted walnuts because that’s what I had, but otherwise made the recipe as is. Will make time and time again. We loved it.

  7. I have made this twice and it is amazing! Comforting and elegant at the same time. Great for an anytime meal or a pasta course for a dinner party. I made it just as written the first time, then substituted marinara sauce instead of the squash the second time. Both options were great. The squashes I used were butternut and acorn, mixed. I added rosemary instead of the sage when I used the marinara sauce. Oh, and I used a piping bag to fill the shells. Very helpful and not as messy.

  8. I had a mother-load of butternut-like squash this year and I love this one made with squash. The sauce is creamy and mild and the filling yummy! I look forward to making it again and again! Thanks for this recipe…..I never would have thought to make squash(or pumpkin) into a sauce.

  9. I’ve just found your website a few weeks ago, this was the first of several things I’ve made so far!

    Everything turned out really well. I followed the instructions to a tee. I thought the sauce was delicious, but next time I think I may try a blend of two smaller squashes just to see if its any sweeter.

    On to the Sumac Chicken tonight!

    Thanks, love your ideas!

    1. Thanks so much for the note Michelle and welcome to the blog! Let me know how it goes with the different squashes…I think that is a great idea. this time, did you use a sugar pumpkin? Hope you love the Sumac Chicken as much as I do. All the best to you!!

  10. I made this tonight for dinner and my husband and I LOVED it! It was a little time consuming, but everything could definitely be made in advance on the weekend (or on a food prep day) and then put together and put in the oven the night you want to eat it. I used butternut squash for the sauce, just because it is what we always use. I added more parmesan and mozzarella to the top after removing the tin foil. This will definitely stay on my fall recipe list. Thank you for the great meal!

  11. I was looking forward to finding use for my leftover pumpkin, so I was excited when I found this recipe. However, I really did not like the taste the pumpkin gave. It was so terribly bland. I added a bit of all-spice and then added tomato because I didn’t know what else to do with it. Needless to say, the tomato did help out. The shells and filling turned out perfectly though.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I am really sorry the sauce did not turn out. Can you tell me if you followed it exactly -or if you made any modifications? Did you use chicken stock and add parmesan? Will double check the recipe. Again, appreciate you letting me know.

  12. Gah. These look amazing. I seriously can’t get enough of this post! Every element of the recipe sounds positively crave-worthy — and I love that your shells have little basket handles! The better to carry them to my mouth. 🙂

  13. Love the pumpkin sauce idea! Creamy and healthy. Pumpkin baseball? Hahaha… That sounds fun. But I just hope I won’t get hit by a pumpkin. That must hurt!

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