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pumpkin pasta in a pan

Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta

A new take on baked ziti with this lightened up saucy baked pumpkin pasta with creamy pumpkin puree, ground turkey sausage, veggies, marinara, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley and your favorite pasta!
Course Dinner, Pasta
Keyword baked pumpkin pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Calories 481 kcal
Author Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • ½ 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
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or a dash of cayenne pepper)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar marinara pasta sauce (or whatever sauce you love best)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 ounces ziti or pasta of choice (use gluten free pasta if GF)
  • For the cheese mixture:
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small bite sized pieces and divided (you can also use about 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • To garnish:
  • Fresh chopped parsley or sage
  • Extra parmesan

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until onions begin to soften and mushrooms cook down, about 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Next add in ground turkey, breaking up the meat, and cook until turkey is no longer pink. Add in the seasonings: italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and 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.
  3. 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.
  4. While the pasta cooks: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch pan (or 9x9 inch) with olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Next make your cheese mixture: In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, ½ 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pasta is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and parsley before serving. Serves 6-8.

Recipe Notes

To make vegetarian: Use 1 can of white beans instead of the turkey. It will still be delicious! Just stir in the beans to the tomato sauce/veggie mixture.

To make gluten free I suggest using your favorite gluten free pasta. I love Banza pasta brand.

Nutrition Facts
Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 481 Calories from Fat 167
% Daily Value*
Fat 18.5g28%
Saturated Fat 8.3g52%
Carbohydrates 45.8g15%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 7.9g9%
Protein 34.1g68%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.