Delicata Squash Pasta Shells with Brown Butter Bechamel

Hello Old Friend!   You may have noticed that we have been in and out for the past couple months.  We have been going through some pretty big changes the past couple months.  Changes filled with mixed emotions;  bittersweet, and new growth.  We have always said, change is good.  It is good to shake things up, keep life fresh, and grow.  That is what we are doing;  shaking things up.

A few of you may have overheard some chatter that we had to move from our tiny home, and the 20 sq.ft. kitchen.  It was emotional tough; not leaving a space, but knowing I would not be seeing the people I have grown to love the past 10 years on a daily basis. No more, MEM poking their smiling faces in to say hi.  No more, Max getting me to play not one but a couple games of ping-pong, even though I am terrible at it.  No more, Ella and Maggie helping me make dinner.  No more, Evelyn or Will stopping by with mail, or to share a glass of wine.  Or the impromptu dinners.  I didn’t care about the material things.  It was the relationships that I was struggling with.  This was family.  Friends.  Children I helped nurture.

Then there was the realization that we did not want to stay in the city any longer, not because we had fallen out of love.  Rather it just didn’t make sense any longer.  Rents have tripled in two years, and it is criminal to give someone else all of that money, just to rent.  Buying in the city wasn’t an option, unless we wanted to leave in a closet.  We wanted space.  We wanted some adventure. Leaving a structure you cohabited, is  one thing, leaving the city was another. We both tease about leaving the Bay Area, to head East or maybe somewhere new and affordable.  But, we haven’t done it.  Now, after twenty years, we have done it.  I am tough until the moment we cross the bridge, on a that perfect, blue-skied day in the city, with the last of your belongings in our car.  The tears start flowing.  Surreal.  It’s like a break-up, one you hope to have back someday, but one that may not come around again.

Once we realized we had been out genderfied, we jumped ship so to say, and headed East.  Not quite the East, we always toy with but it was East.  We found a modest new home in “up and coming” West Oakland.  No question about it, it is edgy, and gritty;  but, we love it.  It is urban and industrial.  The distant sound of the train hitting the tracks.  Gorgeous nighttime views of twinkly shipyards, and the sunrises and sunsets are pretty awesome.  There is an old wreckage yard across from us, and the light shining on the graveyard where parts go to die, is amazing. The potential of this area is pretty grand, and we are thrilled to become a part of it.

In the same breath, we are so excited to be starting our new home together.  Sure we have been living together for 7 years;  but, we always lived in someone else’s “home”.  All fond, and more than lovely memories along the way.  But, this is ours;  all sparkly three floors.  We are excited to unpack boxes, set-up utilities, pick out paint colors, figure out the confusing world of blinds, try to fill all these cupboards in the kitchen, (remember we had everything in one cupboard in our old kitchen), meet all of our new neighbors, and we cannot wait to have friends and family over, on a regular basis, to break bread.

Last week, we had a “oh my god, what did we do” moment.  After talking through it, and remembering the positive things with change, we were good.  Some comfort food was still in order, though.

I have been wanting to make a squash lasagna for some time but have not found the time.  I could not find fresh pasta, and while I usually make my own, I wasn’t in the mood.  I did happen to find jumbo pasta shells, at a new to me market, and I turned my recipe around to accommodate this change.  Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with creamy ricotta, hand-heavy amounts of fresh sage, and then drowned in a brown butter bechamel sauce.  This recipe did not disappoint it was creamy, comforting, and perfect;  just like our lives, no matter where we are.  Our loved ones will always be wrapped in our arms, no matter where we lay our heads at night.  Change is good.



  1. Chelsea Fisher says:

    This looks AMAZING! Must make tonight :)

  2. So happy for you about the new place. Can’t wait to see photos. These shells look amazing and I’m definitely making them!

  3. Congratulations on getting a space to call your own. I can imagine how hard it was to leave, but it sounds like the benefits will outweigh the pain of the move.
    Oh, and “yes please!” to the creamy shells and squash!

  4. ilaria says:

    Congratulations, i am sure that it´s the beginning of another great adventure! :)

  5. Huge congratulations on your new home! I hope you’re settling in nicely.
    Also, a huge thank you for an amazing recipe. I will definitely be trying it. Love squash, sage and pasta together.

  6. I would love to try the recipe, thank you for sharing that. You got great photos, very enticing! Congrats on your new home :)

  7. How exciting, to be starting somewhere new! That’s the beauty of life – new beginnings; fresh starts. Congrats on the new space – it does sound lovely, as does this pasta dish. Brown butter bechamel – yes, please!

  8. just looking at those stuffings… i’m drooling!

  9. aw, love this post, denise. i know i personally don’t do well with change even though it happens every 3 years for me & the fam. i love your attitude. cheers and congrats on your new home! (and the dish looks scrumptious. i can never turn down pasta!)

  10. That’s a very interesting recipe. Bookmarking this. Beautiful pictures!

  11. omg looks wonderful and congrats on your move and new changes!

  12. sherri lynn (life of a wife) says:

    This looks delicious! My husband likes having pasta about once a week so I’m always looking for new recipes to try.

  13. Just started looking at your site and got seduced by your story, and then this recipe! Dang, this looks amazing. Brown butter bechamel! I’ve gotta find me some giant gluten-free pasta shells and get to making this. Would love to see some urban photos of your new neighborhood too. The new locale could provide a feast for your camera. Congrats on your new place!


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