Pumpkin Sage Baked Penne

It's finally starting to feel like fall, which means it's time to break out the pumpkin and apple recipes. This was a perfect recipe to make on the Monday night after a three-day weekend. It was simple to put together, didn't result in too many dirty dishes, and gave us plenty of leftovers for the work week.

I might have under seasoned this, I thought the best parts were with the crisp white cheddar on top which helped to give the pasta a little more salt. I'm still trying to get into the pumpkin craze, sometimes I love it in recipes and sometimes I don't. This one left me with mixed feelings, I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. Overall, it was pretty successful, and Dave and I are happily eating the leftovers.

Recipe slightly adapted from Oh My Veggies. 

-Cooking spray
-2 large shallots, diced
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 cups reduced-fat (2%) or whole milk
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup thinly sliced sage leaves, divided
-Pinch of nutmeg
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-8 ounces penne, cooked al dente
-3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, for about 7 minutes or until the shallots just beginning to brown. Next, sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook, continuing to stir often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Slowly pour the milk into the skillet, whisking it into the flour mixture. Once the flour and milk are incorporated, add the pumpkin to the skillet and whisk that into the flour/milk. Let the sauce cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until thickened, about 7 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of the sage leaves and a pinch of nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then fold in the penne. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the shredded cheese and remaining sage. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered. I love a browned casserole top, so I broiled the penne for about 5 minutes.


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