There’s something about Friday night that makes me want to cook (well, want to want to cook). Maybe it’s that my husband and I get to sit around and actually talk to each other, versus our weeknights where one or both of us are attempting to do just a little bit more work. Or maybe it’s the anticipation of a whole weekend of family time together than inspires me. Whatever the cause, I like trying to find a recipe for Fridays.
Easier said than done. When you have a super-active 16 month-old, it’s hard to find time to cook. Even Elmo (my daughter’s obsession, as you can see here) isn’t enough to keep her occupied and out of the kitchen. My newest thought was that slow-cooker recipes would work—pop it all in and five hours later you have a delicious dinner. But then I happened across this gem. A casserole. (And though the word “casserole” feels a little bit 1950’s, well, so does the slow-cooker).
This casserole seems like a perfect fall combination: pumpkin, pasta, sage and herbs, and some ricotta cheese. Sounds delish. So my plan is to make it tonight. That is, if the little munchkin lets me get to the kitchen.
1 pound pasta, such as farfalle, small shells, or elbows
One 15-ounce container ricotta
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Bring a 4-quart pot of water to boil over high heat, and stir about 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for a slightly shorter amount of time than specified by the package. (For instance, if the package specifies 10 to 12 minutes, cook for 9 to 10, or until just barely al dente.) Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, pureed pumpkin, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger.
Stir in the pasta and coat completely with the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the pecans, chopped pecans, sage, and garlic. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.