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Life has been busy lately, kind of crazy if I am being honest. But then again that's mom life right? That means the days where I can prep dinner in advance (aka naptime) and know that I have a nutritious and filling dinner ready to go for my family are the best days! I am a big fan of recipes that are comforting, filling, and delicious all the while staying on the nutritious side! My easy pumpkin and sausage baked ziti made using Barilla ProteinPLUS pasta is the perfect dish to make any night of the week!
I love this recipe because not only can you make it in advance until it's ready to go into the oven right before dinnertime, but it's also made with Barilla ProteinPLUS, which has 17g of protein to fuel my family's active lifestyle! I have a very busy toddler who keeps me running around after him all day, every day on top of trying to get all of my work done, so keeping my energy up is key every day!
My pumpkin and sausage baked ziti is made lighter with turkey sausage, a pumpkin based sauce that has no cream or added cheese, and is high in protein because of the sausage AND the ProteinPLUS pasta! This dish could not be more perfect for fall and your whole family will gobble it up without protest! I grabbed a few boxes of pasta at my local Kroger to always have on hand for high protein and nutritious dinners just like this recipe!
With their tummies full and satisfied, everyone in your family will have the fuel they need to power through any day!
- 1 Lb. Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne Pasta
- 1 Lb. Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage (can substitute mild sausage here as well)
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Diced Onion
- 3 Finely Minced Garlic Cloves
- 5 Fresh Sage Leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 Tsp. Kosher Salt + more for salting the pasta water
- 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
- 1-2 Cups Reserved Pasta Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium heat and add the turkey sausage removed from it's casing. (If you don't have an oven proof skillet, you can transfer to a baking dish before placing into the oven.)
- Sauté the sausage until it has browned slightly and remove onto a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess grease.
- Meanwhile bring a large pasta pot full of water to a boil. When the water boils, add a good handful of salt to the water and then add in the Barilla ProteinPLUS penne pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, add the diced onion and garlic to the same pan that the sausage was sautéing in and season the salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent and you have scraped up all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the sage leaves at this time along with the pumpkin puree and add a ladle full of pasta water to the pan at a time until the sauce is the right consistency. (Thin the sauce out so that it's not watery, but thick enough to coat the pasta still.)
- Add the sausage back to the pumpkin sauce and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Once the pasta has finished cooking, reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining and then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the pumpkin and sausage sauce and stir to combine.
- Once the pasta is mixed well, add more pasta water if needed for consistency and then top with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted. (If you weren't using a oven proof skillet, simply transfer the pasta to a baking dish before placing into the oven.)
- Broil for the last 2 minutes to create a golden cheese layer on top of the baked ziti.
- Serve immediately.
Note: This recipe can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to go into the oven!
If your family loves pasta as much as mine does, then you are going to love serving them up a dish they will all eat enthusiastically all the while feeling great about what you are feeding them! Add my easy pumpkin and sausage baked ziti to your weeknight meal plan and thank me later!