Pumpkin Pasta

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  We spent the weekend in Virginia Beach with family celebrating the marriage of Mike and Lauren Davis (Megan’s brother-in-law and new sister-in-law).  What a lovely wedding and gorgeous weekend!

On our drive home Sunday LJ (my husband) and I were discussing meals for the week (yes, I am a dietitian and I like to plan my meals for the week).  LJ suggested one of our favorite fall recipes—Pumpkin Baked Ziti.   Keeping with our pumpkin theme this month I thought this recipe would be perfect to share with you!

I was first introduced to this recipe from my co-worker Kate.  Although it’s not a family recipe it comes from one of Megan and I’s favorite southern cooks……Paula Deen.  While Paula isn’t the healthiest cook, her recipes are usually pretty easy to slim down into healthier options.  I have transformed Paula’s original recipe into my own making it tastier and healthier!  If you love pumpkin I promise it won’t disappoint.  The savory sausage and onion with the pumpkin and cinnamon is the perfect combination to warm you up on a cold night.

What you’ll need for Pumpkin Baked Ziti:

Print recipe here

1 pound sweet sausage (I use the apple & onion chicken sausage from Wegman’s.  I have also used the tofurky sausage substitute.  Both are good and WAY healthier options than regular sausage.)

1 small sweet yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup skim milk

1 pound whole wheat ziti (or penne, or whichever you prefer! But make it whole grain for the extra fiber!)

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your casserole dish with canola cooking spray and set aside.  Mince 1 tablespoon of garlic and dice onion.

Next, cube sausage and place in skillet over medium heat.  While sausage is cooking fill a pot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.

Once sausage has finished cooking, remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towel.

Add onion, garlic, and oil to skillet, stirring constantly.  Cook until tender.

**I normally do use a sweet yellow onion, however, I sent my lovely new husband to the store and he got confused on which onion to get.  It still tasted great with the red onion.

Stir in pumpkin puree, chicken stock, and dried rosemary.  Add salt to taste and bring mixture to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in milk, cinnamon, sugar and sausage.  Simmer and stir continuously until sauce begins to thicken (about another 2-3 minutes).

Add pasta to pumpkin and sausage.  Completely coat the pasta with sauce.

Transfer to greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve.   Doesn’t it look tasty?

What’s on your menu for dinner this week?

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