Although I am thoroughly enjoying my pumpkin pie smoothies a few days a week, I was inspired by this post to create a savory pumpkin dish. My pumpkin love doesn’t end with the sweet dishes, I love it all around. Of course, my first thought was soup, but I wanted something heartier, so I went with pasta. The result was fall in a casserole dish. You really couldn’t find a dish that screams fall much louder. This recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for a large group or freezing half of it.
Gather your ingredients:
Okay, so a few ingredients didn’t make it into the picture. That’s what happens when you are creating a recipe on the fly. You could easily make this a vegan dish by using a standard vegan parmesan cheese stand-in (like grinding up sesame seeds+nutritional yeast+salt) and oil or margarine for the bread crumbs. There are times when that is what I would do. Sometimes, though, I just need my cheese. Plus I was making this for guests, and let’s face it, things usually taste better with cheese. Sorry. What about the butter? I feel organic butter from grass-fed cows has its nutritional value when used in moderation. All right, Mama, on to the recipe.Print
Baked Pumpkin Penne
A perfect pasta dish for fall
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 80 minutes
- Total Time: 100 minutes
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: American / Italian
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin (or if you are really ambitious ~1.5–2 cups fresh puree)
- 2 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened soy milk)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 7 roasted garlic cloves (directions for roasting in the recipe)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne
- pinch nutmeg
- 4 leeks
- 3 shallots
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4–5 slices whole grain bread (I used sprouted whole grain from our local bakery-delicious!)
- 1 handful fresh sage (I found some locally grown organic sage at our grocery store :-))
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 (12 ounce) boxes whole wheat pasta
- First, you’ll want to roast your garlic. This can be done ahead of time. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take an entire bulb and cut the top off, like this:
- Drizzle some olive oil over the top and rub it in to ensure the top of every clove is covered. Loosely cover with foil.
- Put it in the oven like this (no pan needed) and let it roast for 30 minutes. The roasted cloves will slip right out of their skin with a little squeeze. You can save the extra cloves for another recipe. I’ll be using mine to make a half-recipe of this roasted garlic bean dip.
- Prepare your pasta according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Wash the leeks and cut off the tops that look like silly hair. Thinly slice the white part and a little of the light green portion. Peel and thinly slice the shallots. In a large skillet, heat ~1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Add the leeks and shallots and cook, stirring them around occasionally, until they are brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. I sprinkled them with a little sea salt half way through their cooking time.
- They will start out looking like this:
- And will turn into this:
- While the leeks are cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs and pumpkin sauce.
- For the breadcrumbs, tear the bread and sage leaves into pieces and put into the food processor. This is how much sage I used:
- I could have probably used a little more. Add the paprika to the food processor and pulse until your have coarse crumbs.
- Melt 2 tablespoons organic butter (or other fat of your choice) in a small skillet pan. Add the breadcrumbs and stir them to coat. Allow them to toast for a few minutes and then remove from the heat.
- For the pumpkin sauce, add your pumpkin puree, milk, cheese, roasted garlic cloves, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor (I used the blender because I wanted a smoother texture). Blend until smooth.
- To assemble the dish, mix the pasta with the sauce and place it in a large rectangular ceramic or glass casserole dish. Top with a layer of the leek/shallot mixture and finally the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese, if desired. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I covered the dish with foil for the first 20 minutes and then uncovered it for the remaining 10 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 631
- Sugar: 13.6g
- Sodium: 755mg
- Fat: 13.2g
- Carbohydrates: 112g
- Protein: 29.8g
Keywords: fall pasta
There were five of us eating this for dinner, and four out of the five gave it a thumbs up. Guess who didn’t give it a thumbs up? Yes, my picky husband Tim. He’s not really a pumpkin guy and detests anything in the onion family, so he gave it a “it’s just all right”. Meghan ate her entire portion willingly, so I would call it a success with the toddler crowd. My in-laws both liked it; my father-in-law Jack only said that he would have liked it even more if it was “saucier”. If you like your pasta dishes more on the saucy side, like Jack, you can either make more sauce (or add some vegetable broth to the sauce?) or use less pasta. Either would work to create a saucier dish. I loved it as it was and accidentally ate three helpings. Oops.
The worst thing about this recipe?
Lots o’ dishes to clean up! This isn’t the quick-and-easy busy weeknight dinner. It certainly isn’t hard, but it does take some dirtying of pots and pans! If I was hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving, I would make this dish. Alas, I am not hosting Thanksgiving and therefore don’t have to fret about what to serve my guests when the thought of cooking a big bird makes me cringe.
Question Time: What’s your favorite fall dinner?