Baked Pumpkin Ziti is my favorite dish for Halloween parties and the perfect way to impress your friends. Surprisingly it will stay warm using a large lasagna pan or a disposable aluminum pan. The disposable is probably your best bet for entertaining.
This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen’s Baked Pumpkin Ziti on The Food Network. Her recipe prepares using (8) 8 oz ramekins, but serving a large crowd it’s much easier to prepare in one pan.
As usual I like to tweak to make it my own but it turned out perfectly. Enjoy!
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage removed from casings
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic grated**
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes**
- 1.5 cans (15 oz) pumpkin puree** (It is really dry with only 1 can)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3-4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves** (I increased this from the original)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- few dashes of fresh grated nutmeg
- ⅓ cup coconut milk or 2% milk**
- 1 pound ziti or penne pasta, cooked
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- (1) 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Few dashes of fresh grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook sausage (remove from casings) in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered about 8 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Add onion, grated garlic, crushed red pepper flakes to oil remaining in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until soft; about 3 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree, chicken stock and sage. Mix together and add salt. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in milk and sprinkle with nutmeg. Simmer until the sauce comes together and is thickened slightly.
- Add cooked pasta to a large lasagna pan, stir in pumpkin mixture from skillet and coat pasta well. (Pasta will look dry). Set to the side.
- Melt butter over med-high heat in a medium size saute pan. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the milk into a roux, breaking up any clumps. Bring mixture to a bubble and add pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Season with salt, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Pour béchamel sauce over pasta and coat well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.