Monday, March 18, 2013

Pumpkin and Ricotta Pasta Bake

Remember waaaaaay back when to last fall. Kids were going back to school. The air was crisp. Leaves crinkled under your feet. And canned pumpkin was on sale for dirt cheap.

So you bought 3 or 58 cans. You thought to yourself, "What a great deal! I love pumpkin! I'm going to make pumpkin bread every week! This is my best idea ever!" Now every time you open the cupboard, 57 cans of pumpkin come tumbling at you.

Apparently you purchased enough pumpkin to last through the apocalypse. And since spring is just around the corner, let's go ahead and use up a can. Ok? Ok.

Pumpkin and Ricotta Pasta Bake
Serves: 6
Adapted from The Kitchn

1 pound small pasta (elbows, little shells, rotini, cellentani...)
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for the pasta water
Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh* sage leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large pot of generously salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions for one minute less than al dente. (For example, if the box says to cook your pasta for 10 minutes to be al dente, cook it for 9 minutes. It will finish cooking in the oven later.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together ricotta, pumpkin, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, yogurt, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, nutmeg, ginger, sage, and garlic. Stir in pecans and cooked pasta.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown.

*I think it was worth it to use fresh sage in this recipe. It really added pizzazz.

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