These creamy, warm pockets of sunshine are delicious and easy to make. The flavor profile is quintessentially autumnal, and the presentation is so easy and beautiful. This recipe makes two pans of shells, so it ends up being a frugal meal as well.
1 medium butternut squash (mine was around 4 lb.)
1 box medium firm tofu
1 box large shell pasta
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1. First you need to halve and bake your squash. Preheat your oven to 400, slice your squash, and rub olive oil evenly into the flesh of the squash, sprinkle oregano and dried basil over the oil. Bake until the squash is tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. Remove from oven, turn oven heat down to 350. Let squash cool on the counter for at least 10 minutes.
2. While waiting for squash to cool, heat a pot of water and cook the shells. When the shells are done cooking, drain them, rinse with cold water, and leave them momentarily in the strainer.
3. Scoop the squash out of its skin and put in a medium-large pot. Get as much of the tender squash into the pot as possible.
4. Add tofu, fresh dill, and half of the basil to the mixture in the pot. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to fully puree and combine the ingredients.
5. Now you need to prepare your casserole pan, mine are fairly small so I used two. Spoon a thin layer of crushed tomatoes onto the surface of your pans. Then you can stuff the shells with your squash tofu ricotta, and set them in the pan. Top with sauce, and the remainder of the fresh basil.
6. Put the casserole pans in the oven for about 20 minutes. You could top these off with nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, red pepper flakes, or even pesto.