Pumpkin Sage Baked Pasta
(from A Family Feast)
This is the first time I’ve cooked a savory pumpkin dish. It’s a baked pasta, and I think of baked pasta as casserole. I love casseroles because you can make them ahead. If I start making dinner in the late afternoon, I can stress myself out because I’m on a time crunch. But if I prep it in the early in the day, I can still troubleshoot and not worry about the time. Plus I can have the mess cleaned up, and after dinner everyone can relax.
If you don’t have white wine for the white sauce or don’t want to use it, just use 2 cups of chicken stock instead of 1 cup of each. I have done it both ways.
This is a meatless dish, and you really don’t miss the meat here. I actually don’t think it would be great with meat because the sage butter and pumpkin have so much flavor. I would recommend serving this with something bright and healthy, liked Kale Sautéed in Olive Oil. You need something to contrast with the creamy pasta.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
For the pasta and pumpkin sauce
1 pound of dried whole wheat penne or other short pasta
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 ½ cups ricotta cheese
1 whole egg, plus 1 egg white
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
For the white sauce
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
6 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup half and half
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon dry mustard
For the topping
3 cups freshly grated low moisture mozzarella cheese
1-2 tablespoons dried parsley
2-3 whole fresh sage leaves
- Cook the pasta according to directions.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, white pepper and parsley. Mix well and set aside.
- In a small pan, heat milk, stock, and wine over medium low heat. In another small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the chopped sage. Sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the hot stock and milk to the butter and flour mixture one third at a time whisking each time. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium casserole dish, layer the ingredients as follows: one-fourth of the prepared White Sauce, one-third of the cooked pasta, and 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture.
- Repeat these same layers 2 additional times. Then add one last layer of the remaining white sauce and top with the mozzarella. Sprinkle the dried parsley on top.
- Bake covered at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover, turn the oven up to 425, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the mozzarella in browned and bubbly on top.
- Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting into it. Garnish with fresh sage.