Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta
Saucy, healthy baked pumpkin pasta made with creamy pumpkin puree, ground turkey sausage, veggies and layers of cheese. This easy, cheesy pumpkin pasta bake is a wonderful fall twist on traditional baked ziti! Use your favorite pasta for this comforting, lightened up pasta dish.
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups sliced baby Bella mushrooms
- 1 pound 94% lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1(25 ounce) jar marinara pasta sauce (or use our Healthy & Delicious Marinara Sauce)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces ziti or pasta of choice
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small bite sized pieces and divided (you can also use about 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra Parmesan for garnish
- Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms and sauté until onions begin to soften and mushrooms cook down, about 4-5 minutes.
- Next add in ground turkey, breaking up the meat, and cook until turkey is no longer pink. Add in the seasonings: Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds. to incorporate seasonings into the meat, then immediately add in the pasta sauce and pumpkin puree. Stir together, and reduce heat to low and simmer while you cook your pasta.
- Add water to a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Once boiling, add your pasta and cook until pasta is just barely al-dente. We want the pasta to have a nice bite to it. Once pasta is cooked, drain, then rinse with cool water.
- While the pasta cooks: Preheat oven to 375° Grease an 8×8 inch pan (or 9×9 inch) with olive oil. Set aside.
- Next make your cheese mixture: In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella pieces and parmesan cheese until just combined. Stir in the cooked pasta and 2 cups of the meat sauce. Add a little salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Add half of the pasta mixture to the prepared pan. Top with half of remaining meat sauce and then half of remaining mozzarella pieces. Repeat with remaining pasta, meat sauce and mozzarella.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pasta is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with extra parmesan before serving. Serves 6-8.