I made this recipe while my friend Laura was visiting, as part of our pumpkin week during which we ate pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin- cranberry pancakes with chocolate chips instead of cranberries (for lunch after Nora had to get her finger pricked at the doctor’s — it was totally a guilty parent meal) and pumpkin soup. As much as I love sweets, this was my favorite of all the pumpkin meals. It was an easy and delicious dinner, with a subtle pumpkin taste, perfect for tricking toddler tongues and those that think pumpkin on its own tastes like soap (that would be me). It made a lot, which meant leftovers, one of my favorite things.
I bought three cheese pumpkins at Bartlett’s last week, and when I finally get around to roasting them, you can bet I’ll be making this again.
- 30 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 22 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 quart of your preferred tomato sauce (I used homemade, but jarred is fine)
Cook pasta shells according to package instructions; drain. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Set aside and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 cup Parmesan, and remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread sauce in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with about 3 tablespoons ricotta-pumpkin mixture and arrange in pan. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shells with remaining Parmesan, and bake for 15 minutes more. (If desired, stuff shells the night before and refrigerate overnight in an airtight container, in between layers of plastic wrap; arrange shells on sauce right before baking.)