Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin-Bacon Sauce

Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin-Bacon Sauce
QVC, Inc.
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4-6
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Repeat after me: not all pumpkin recipes have to be sweet. True, there’s nothing that says fall quite like a pumpkin pie or quick bread, but pumpkin plays nice with salt and sugar—and can give sauces a creamy, dreamy consistency—all while adding a boost of extra nutrients.

America’s pumpkin craze has skyrocketed in the past ten years. And our love of bacon has grown right along with it. Add these two stellar ingredients to pasta, an established dinner-time staple, and you’ll have a new fall go-to in no time. Just make sure you stock up!

Thanks to this recipe, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate October—which just so happens to be National Pasta and National Pumpkin Month. Bacon, apparently, doesn’t have its own month-long food holiday, which means it should be celebrated every month of the year.

Don’t be tempted to remove all that bacon fat from the pan—it adds a ton of flavor to these shells! In fact, don’t discard a drop so you can make some other yummy recipes.

Looking to make this dish vegetarian? That’s easy. Simply remove the bacon from the recipe and use butter or margarine to sauté the onions.

Make sure that you’re using pumpkin purée and NOT pumpkin pie filling. The two look similar, but you’re going to get two very different tastes if you swap them!

What You'll Need

  • 24 frozen stuffed shells
  • 1 lb. bacon (diced)
  • 1 cup onion (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups Fontina cheese (grated)

How to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the shells in a 13'' x 9'' baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Sauté the bacon in a medium-size saucepan until browned, about 10–12 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Remove some of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving about 1/4 cup. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 6–8 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan. Stir in the flour and then add the chicken stock and milk.
  1. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it thicken, stirring constantly. Add in the pumpkin purée, rosemary, thyme, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer.
  2. Pour the sauce evenly over the shells and top with the grated Fontina cheese. Place the pan on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top.