Autumn Pasta Bake with Homemade Pumpkin Tomato Sauce
Author: Lunches and Littles
- 2 pints Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes (divided)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey (could also use beef, if desired)
- 2 cups cubed pumpkin (divided)
- 1 package (ours was 17.6 ounces) of Pappardelle Pasta
- 1 small tub (8 ounces) Mascarpone cheese (room temp)
- 1 and ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small yellow onion (fine diced)
- 1 small red pepper (fine diced)
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅛ tsp (a small pinch!) of nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. plain tomato paste
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- finely chopped parsley and/or sage leaves for sauce, for topping, etc. (as desired)
- *You may also like: additional cheese for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper/foil. Set aside.
- Cube pumpkin (skin off) into bite-sized pieces and transfer to baking sheet. Drizzle cubes with olive oil, then add a bit of salt and pepper until they are well coated.
- Next take 1 and ½ pints of Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes and arrange on second baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast pumpkin and tomatoes at 400 degrees for 30-45 min, flipping pumpkin once. Tomatoes may be done first- if so, just remove them and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle olive oil, then add garlic, onion and pepper. Sauté until fragrant and onion begins to soften, approx. 4 minutes.
- While doing the above, transfer roasted tomatoes (put about 10 off to the side) to blender and pulse a couple times until your tomatoes have a chunky sauce consistency. Set aside.
- Next, add in your ground turkey, using a wooden spoon to carefully break it up as it cooks.
- Add in Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir until seasonings are well combined with turkey.
- Now, add pulsed tomatoes only (you will still have some reserved on the side) to pot as well as roasted pumpkin (again, reserve about 10 pieces of pumpkin or so) and tomato paste. Work pumpkin and tomatoes into turkey mixture.
- Simmer sauce mixture for approx. 15 min. or until well-combined, and has a thicker, sauce consistency. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
- While sauce simmers, prepare pasta per package instructions then remove from heat and drain. To make cheese mixture: combine mascarpone (room temp), 1 cup only of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Stir well until combined.
- Now, gently combine pasta and cheese mixture.
- Once combined, add in approx. half of your sauce, or enough to fully coat pasta and then some.
- In a large oven-safe skillet or dish, layer pasta and cheese mixture with sauce, ending with pasta mixture on top.
- Add the remaining roasted tomatoes as well (scatter throughout dish), and top with any additional sauce, as desired.
- Bake approximately 25 minutes. Then topping with remaining mozzarella and bake an additional minute or so, until cheese is melted.
- While dish bakes, take the remaining ½ pint of tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise, or slice, as shown, for topping.
- Remove dish from oven, top with fresh cuts and slices of tomato, pumpkin cubes and parsley and sage as desired.
- Serve immediately.