Pumpkin + Kale Baked Rigatoni

Pumpkin + Kale Baked Rigatoni

It's Halloween (on a MONDAY) so of course I had to be that basic bitch who makes something pumpkin-related for dinner just because it's Halloween.

How predictable. Did you expect something more creative from me? If so, I'm sorry. 

While we waited for the sun to go down and for the first trick-or-treater to ring the doorbell, I whipped up this super-easy, perfect-for-a-busy-night pasta dish that feels festive enough for Halloween night, but tastes delicious enough to be enjoyed any time of year.  The first trick-or-treater was Glinda the Good Witch by the way. Needless to say The Wizard of Oz fangirl inside of me came out in full force...

Pumpkin + Kale Baked Rigatoni
Serves 8

1 lb rigatoni or ziti, cooked al dente in boiling salted water, 1 cup cooking water reserved
2 TB olive oil
2 TB salted butter
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 large pinches red pepper flakes
2 TB fresh sage, minced
¼ tsp fresh-grated nutmeg
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 large handfuls baby kale
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
2 TB pure maple syrup
2 handfuls pecans, chopped
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper flakes, sage, and nutmeg, and sauté 3-4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the pumpkin and cook for another minute, stirring often. Add the kale and stir until wilted. Add ½ cup pasta cooking water to thin the mixture slightly. If you want it even thinner, add more water until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in the ricotta, maple syrup, and pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine cooked pasta with pumpkin mixture. Pour half of the pasta into a 9x13-inch baking dish, add half of the cheese, then top with remaining pasta and cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes, then broil 3-4 minutes or until cheese is browned and sauce is bubbling. Cool before serving. 

What's your all-time favorite pasta dish?

Cheers! Alex

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