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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Pumpkin baked Ziti with Caramelized Onion and Sage Crumb Topping

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Pumpkin and pasta are two foods I never really thought about putting together until now. But I found this vegetarian recipe (it used to be vegan but I changed it) in a great cookbook called Vegonomicon by Moskowitz and Romero — two women from Brooklyn — and it’s a winner!

3/4 pound uncooked ziti
2 onions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch white pepper
pinch Cayenne pepper
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup veg broth
2 1/2 cups Panko
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9-inch x 11-inch casserole pan with olive oil. Cook off the Ziti until it is al dente. Cool in running water and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions in the olive oil. Cook low and slow so they get brown and sweet, about 15 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, peppers, veggie broth and mix. Add the cooked ziti pasta and the carmelized onions to the ricotta mixture and pour into prepared pan.

Now make the topping: In a sauté pan, melt the butter and combine with the bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs, paprika, and salt and pepper. Stir for about 4 minutes so it all gets toasted and lightly browned. Sprinkle topping over the pasta. Bake for 28-35 minutes, till the top is browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. I like to have a bowl of fresh shaved Parmesan for garnish.