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Baked Shells with Winter Squash

This is a grown-up alternative to macaroni and cheese, but even kids might approve.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
  • Yield: Serves 6
Baked Shells with Winter Squash

Source: Everyday Food, October 2003


  • Butter, for baking dish
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 pound small pasta shells
  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen winter squash puree, thawed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 slices crusty baguette, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until onions are soft and release liquid, 15 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until onions are browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon rosemary.

  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes less than package instructions suggest. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water. Return pasta to pot.

  3. Stir squash and reserved pasta water into onions; simmer 2 minutes. Toss squash mixture and 1/2 cup Parmesan with pasta. Transfer to prepared dish.

  4. Combine bread cubes with remaining Parmesan, rosemary, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Top pasta with bread cubes; bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Reviews (9)

  • hccotter 5 Dec, 2013

    Why do you not provide nutrition information with your recipes? My daughter is diabetic and must count carbohydrates.

  • alexander janec 20 Feb, 2013

    Great recipe. I pretty much did exactly as the recipe said with a few minor changes. I put the onions, squash, and 6oz of non-fat greek yogurt and pureed it before adding the parm. I then mixed it with elbow noodles and told my kids it was mac n cheese. They (11 and 7) both had two servings!

  • thepagemage 14 May, 2012

    I made this with fresh squash by sauteeing the squash in with the onions, and adding a cup of chicken broth. Added great flavour! Everyone loved it :) Oh, and I pureed it with a hand-blender.

  • suemanos 9 Dec, 2011

    Not bad but very bland. You need to add salt and pepper. I would also add more rosemary next time.

  • danaealexandra 21 Feb, 2011

    This is fantastic and simple. Time consuming yes, but totally worth it!

  • rizi harris 24 Jan, 2011

    I left out the bread and used 100% whole wheat shells. Delicious and not heavy!

  • rvchiro7 29 Oct, 2010

    This is an absolutely wonderful dish. I made it last night but changed the recipe a little because there are only two of us and because of the comments of it being a little dry. I used 1/2 lb of pasta, one onion, one tsp fresh chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, about 1 cup home made turkey stock, and 1 cup parmesan. I also used about 1/4 cup of my own homemade bread crumbs and a tiny bit more parmesan on top. I followed the directions with my changes and it was incredible.

  • meganrachel 25 Feb, 2009

    Really great dish. My husband called it a sophisticated gourmet mac n' cheese. All of the flavors really complement each other. Pretty healthy, too, unless you eat too much of it like I did! Maybe adding some more squash puree, or chicken or veggie broth would help those who found it to be dry.

  • amherstcook 15 Feb, 2009

    Wonderful flavor and a healthier alternative to the standard macaroni and cheese. However, mine was rather dry and I'd love to know a good way to make it more moist without sacrificing the taste.

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