Pumpkin Penne with Ricotta and Spinach

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

Rich and cheesy, this vegetarian pasta will warm you up on a chilly fall evening. For the pasta, choose a tube-style variety such as penne or rigatoni, one that will hold all the creamy pumpkin sauce. The addition of fresh sage leaves brings autumn flair to the dish, and it smells so good while baking. 6 servings

  • 8 ounces penne
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
  • pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh sage leaves

Heat oven to 375 F. Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.

In a large bowl, combine beaten egg, pumpkin, ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, Parmesan, milk, oregano, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until creamy. If sauce seems too thick, add a bit more milk. Set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add spinach to pan and cook until it wilts.

Stir spinach mixture and cooked pasta into the sauce. Spoon mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining mozzarella and a handful of sage leaves. Bake for another 8-10 minutes. A couple minutes before removing from oven, turn oven to broil and broil until cheese is brown and bubbly.