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Cheesy pumpkin pasta bake with mushrooms, spinach, creamy pumpkin tomato sauce
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Pasta Bake with Pumpkin Tomato Sauce

Cheesy pumpkin pasta with mushrooms, spinach, creamy pumpkin tomato sauce, and buttery walnut-sage topping. This baked pumpkin pasta sneaks veggies into every bite and will surely be a fall favorite. 
Course Entree, Pasta, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 576kcal

Equipment

  • Large baking dish
  • Stockpot or Dutch oven
  • Large sauté pan

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry pasta of choice (such as mezzi rigatoni, shells, ziti or any other tubular pasta, fusilli, or farfalle)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded fontina cheese, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until 2 minutes SHY of al dente. (The pasta should still be firm, though tender enough to bite through.) Drain the pasta into a strainer and set aside. 
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the walnuts and 1 Tbsp. sage; cook 5 minutes, until the walnuts are toasted and aromatic. Season with a pinch of salt (~1/8 tsp.), and transfer mixture to a bowl.
  • Place pan back on the burner and increase heat to medium-high. Add olive oil, along with mushrooms and onion. Cook for 8 minutes, or until soft.
  • Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns brick red and begins sticking to the pan. Gradually add spinach, stirring continuously until greens wilt down. Stir in oregano, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 2 tsp. fresh sage.
  • Add vegetable broth, stirring to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in pumpkin puree, Parmesan (or Pecorino), and 1/2 cup fontina cheese; continue stirring until the fontina melts and the sauce is smooth. Add pasta and stir until all noodles are well-coated in sauce.
  • Transfer mixture to a 13x9-inch greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining fontina cheese overtop, along with buttery walnut-sage mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 7 to 10 more minutes, until cheese is completely melted and golden. Garnish with additional Parmesan (or Pecorino), if desired, before serving.

Notes

To Store. Store cooked leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To Freeze. Place cooled pasta in an airtight freezer-safe container (or ziptop storage bag) in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To Reheat. If reheating from frozen, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat single servings in the microwave with a splash of broth to keep it from drying out. Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta right in the casserole dish in a 350ºF oven until warm throughout. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 770mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 9g