Filed Under: Fall | Italian | Main Dish | Pork

Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

Recipe By Tessa Arias
September 8th, 2014

Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells are loaded with pumpkin puree, cheese, and sausage and baked in marinara-soaked pasta shells. Perfect fall dinner. 

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 47 minutes

Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells are loaded with pumpkin puree, cheese, and sausage and baked in marinara-soaked pasta shells. Perfect fall dinner.
Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells Recipe

It’s official, I’ve become pumpkin crazed and it’s barely September. I don’t know why we reserve pumpkins for this time of the year only, we tend to eat most other fruits and veggies year-round despite what their normal season might be. I kind of hate it but also love it because having a certain food only throughout a few months each year just makes it special. Maybe that’s the way we need to campaign fruits and veggies to make them more exciting! Could you see yourself getting excited about broccoli if you could only eat it a couple months out of the year?! I don’t know about that…

What I do know is that this recipe is a winning dinner. The pumpkin in these Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells is subtle, but with all the flavors combined including the fresh sage it just tastes like fall savory goodness. Plus it adds an extra dose of nutrition! You really can’t beat marinara, sausage, and cheese all baked together. Who could say no to that?

Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

If you make these Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells, be sure to take a picture and tag it #handletheheat on Instagram. Seeing your photos makes my day!

Recipe Rundown

Taste: The pumpkin flavor is just slightly discernible, they basically just taste like a more autumn seasonal version of stuffed shells.
Texture: Every bite has a wonderfully satisfying combination of mouthfeels. Mmm.
Ease: Easy but you’ll have some dishes to do.
Appearance: I think this would be a wonderful site for hungry eyes.
Pros: Fun seasonal twist on a favorite pasta dish.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Mmhmm.

Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

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How to make
Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 47 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells are loaded with pumpkin puree, cheese, and sausage and baked in marinara-soaked pasta shells. Perfect fall dinner. 


  • 20 jumbo pasta shells (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (or 3 cups homemade)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool completely.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the skillet and brown, breaking up into small pieces, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and let cool completely.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, pumpkin, egg, Parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cooked sausage.
  5. Spread two thirds of the marinara in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with the sausage-cheese mixture and arrange in the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara over the shells. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes before garnishing with additional Parmesan cheese serving.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Jen @ Baked by an Introvert — September 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

    We really should enjoy pumpkin all year, don’t you think? It’s so versatile, as you have proven with this fabulous dinner recipe. Pinned!

  2. #
    Susan — September 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

    This sounds like a dish worth making. Most of the time I find pumpkin flavor to be overrated, but based on the ingredients it sounds like the pumpkin would add just a subtle flavor. Adding the sage is perfect. I’ve been disappointed in previous stuffed shells recipes I’ve tried, but I’m certain this one one disappoint.

  3. #
    Gaby — September 8, 2014 at 11:01 am

    This is my kind of dinner!

  4. #
    Liz @ Floating Kitchen — September 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Yum! This looks so comforting and perfect for fall! Love the pumpkin!

  5. #
    Audrey @ Audrey’s Apron — September 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    So I love pumpkin muffins, cupcakes, bread, etc., but I can’t imagine how it would taste in pasta…and I can’t decide if I’d like it! I’m definitely intrigued though…this may end up on my dinner menu soon! Looks great!

  6. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — September 9, 2014 at 8:01 am

    THESE are the kind of meals I look forward to in the fall, serious comfort on a plate!

  7. #
    Annie @ Annie’s Noms — September 10, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I am loving all things pumpkin right now, but have never tried it in a dinner recipe, going to have to try this, looks so perfect for a dark, cold evening!

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