I really like fall. I like all the holidays, the fact that I can finally break out my college sweatshirt, the turning leaves and all the tasty pumpkin treats! I’ve been experimenting more with pumpkin this year, especially in the savory realm. I used to always just use the canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just straight pumpkin), but this year I’ve taken to occasionally roasting my own pumpkin and pureeing it myself. Super yummy. However, the canned stuff is still very convenient and what I typically use. Now to the ziti…

I was bumming around online the other day and stumbled across a recipe for Baked Pumpkin Fettucine Alfredo on the blog “How Sweet it is.”I was inspired. I’ve been making a lot of pumpkin ravioli, but this also sounded very delicious. However, while I wanted to make a baked pumpkin pasta dish, I decided to go more in the direction of a baked ziti. My mom made a mean baked ziti growing up, but I’ve never strayed from the traditional tomato sauce before. I think a key part of this recipe is the dusting of cayenne at the end. I was pretty enthusiastic about my dusting and the whole dish has this great kick because of it.

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1 lb ziti, slightly undercooked
1 can pumpkin
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp chopped sage
1 C good chicken stock (not pictured)
1/4 C cream or half & half
1 container ricotta cheese
1/4 C balsamic vinager
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil, for sauteing and greasing the baking dish
salt & pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper

 

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Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Start out by sauteing the onions in some olive oil. Once the onions start to soften, add the garlic and sage. Season with a little salt and pepper.

 

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Once the onion mixture is nice and cooked through, maybe even slightly browned in places, add in the can of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and chicken stock. Stir over medium heat until the pumpkin is heated through and the spices are evenly incorporated. Let cook for a moment or so.

 

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Add in the cream, approx. 1/2 C ricotta and the balsamic vinegar. Stir until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pumpkin mixture to a large bowl or pot containing the ziti and mix well.

 

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In a separate bowl, mix up the remaining ricotta cheese and a bunch of mozzarella and parm. Season with salt and pepper (or whatever else you’d like). I realize I don’t have exact amounts of the cheese and that was because (a) I had less mozzarella cheese on hand than I would have liked and (b) I just mixed stuff until I liked the texture.

Take out a well-oiled casserole and spread half of the pumpkin & ziti mixture across the bottom. Then dollop chunks of the ricotta & cheese mixture evenly on top.

 

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Add the remaining ziti and then the last of the ricotta. Layer the remaining mozzarella & parm on the top and finish by dusting the casserole with cayenne pepper for a nice little kick.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the 350º oven for about 25 minutes. At the end of the baking time, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

 

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At this point the ziti should have finished cooking with its pumpkin-ey goodness and the cheese should be hot and bubbly.

Scoop the ziti into a bowl or on a plate and dig in immediately. MMMMM. Fall goodness.

 


Baked Pumpkin Ziti
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ziti, slightly undercooked
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1 C good chicken stock
  • ¼ C cream or half & half
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • ¼ C balsamic vinager
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Olive oil, for sauteing and greasing the baking dish
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Start out by sauteing the onions in some olive oil.
  3. Once the onions start to soften, add the garlic and sage. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Once the onion mixture is nice and cooked through, maybe even slightly browned in places, add in the can of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and chicken stock. Stir over medium heat until the pumpkin is heated through and the spices are evenly incorporated. Let cook for a moment or so.
  5. Add in the cream, approx. ½ C ricotta and the balsamic vinegar. Stir until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the pumpkin mixture to a large bowl or pot containing the ziti and mix well.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix up the remaining ricotta cheese and a bunch of mozzarella and parm. Season with salt and pepper (or whatever else you'd like).
  8. Take out a well-oiled casserole and spread half of the pumpkin & ziti mixture across the bottom. Then dollop chunks of the ricotta & cheese mixture evenly on top of the ziti.
  9. Add the remaining ziti and then the last of the ricotta. Layer the remaining mozzarella & parm on the top and finish by dusting the casserole with cayenne pepper for a nice little kick.
  10. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the 350º oven for about 25 minutes.
  11. At the end of the baking time, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  12. At this point the ziti should have finished cooking with its pumpkin-ey goodness and the cheese should be hot and bubbly.
  13. Scoop the ziti into a bowl or on a plate and dig in immediately.
Notes
I don't have exact amounts of the cheese and that was because (a) I had less mozzarella cheese on hand than I would have liked and (b) I just mixed stuff until I liked the texture.