I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. It’s a very seasonal ingredient and seems to be only available in the can during the Holiday Season. Sometimes I’ll buy a few extra cans to have for the winter because after Thanksgiving and Christmas it becomes hard to find.
I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner and it’s a good one for all the vegetarians out there. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it on the Monday before Thanksgiving and freeze it without putting the mozzarella cheese on top. I will take it out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will put cheese on top and bake till bubbly , you’ll want to make certain that it is completely defrosted and room temperature before putting it in the oven. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 20 minutes or so till it gets slightly brown. It should start bubbling and to check for readiness put a fork right in the middle . If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.
One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!
As a side dish it should serve about 10-12 .
1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta, cooked and drained well– cavatappi or rigatoni will work fine too.
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
3 – 4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin, 2 cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.
Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.