Looking for a super delicious, hearty and healthy meal? This pasta dish should do the trick! Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with apple sage vegan sausage crumbles, garlic, fresh spinach, a simple tofu sage ricotta and tender roasted butternut squash. They're all baked in a silky roasted butternut squash sauce that's so creamy and delicious! If you're lucky enough to have leftovers, this is even better then next day!
Prepare the noodles according to package directions. It's best to slightly under-cook them so they don't fall apart while you're trying to fill them, and don't become mushy when they are baked. Drain, rinse with cold water, and toss with a bit of oil so they don't stick together. Keep covered so they don't dry out.
For the Squash and the Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the peeled and cubed butternut squash on the baking sheet with 4 tablespoons of oil. Ensure all of the pieces are evenly coated, and lie in a single layer on the pan for even roasting. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender and there's some browning, tossing once.
In a medium-sized pot, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add in the flour, and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes. This mixture (white roux) should bubble and smell fragrant. Slowly whisk in the plant-based milk, and bring up to a simmer. Continue whisking and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat.
Pour the sauce into a blender. Add in the nutmeg, miso, white balsamic vinegar, miso paste and 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash. Blend until completely smooth, taking care the lid is secure so you don't get burned.
For the Ricotta:
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened and starting to become translucent, about 2 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, tofu, vinegar, salt, and sage. Pulse until combined, but there's still some texture (it shouldn't be a paste.)
Over medium heat in the same skillet you fried your onions in, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the crumbled sausages and cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add in the spinach, stirring to encourage it to wilt. Remove from heat. Add in the tofu ricotta and remaining roasted butternut squash, stirring gently so as not to mash the squash.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Spread the sauce in a 9 x 13" casserole dish. Fill each shell generously with the sausage ricotta mixture, and fit them snugly into the pan over the sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Enjoy!