This Baked Pumpkin Pasta is made with pancetta, kale, and white beans and topped with gruyere and panko crumbs.
Baked Pumpkin Pasta
This healthy baked pumpkin pasta bake is total comfort food. I know it’s rare to hear the words “healthy” and “comfort food” in the same sentence but hear me out! The pumpkin, kale, cannellini beans, and whole-wheat pasta give this dish a ton of fiber, and the gruyere and pancetta give it that comfort-food element while adding protein. You can also try my Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies, and for a more pared-down version of this recipe, try my other Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta.
I don’t know about you, but I tried to like whole wheat pasta for years and never found a brand that my family would eat. I didn’t care for the texture until I discovered DeLallo Organic Whole-Wheat Pasta, which changed my life. My husband, who is pretty picky about his pasta, also loves it, and now it’s the only brand of whole-wheat I will ever use. Their gluten-free pasta is also AMAZING, so if you can’t eat gluten, you can easily swap it out.
What are the benefits of eating pumpkin?
I love cooking with pumpkin. Not only does it require no prep (besides opening the can!), it’s also full of nutrients. One cup of pumpkin has two grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. Plus, it’s a great source of vitamins A, K, and E.
Pumpkin Pasta Ingredients
This creamy pumpkin pasta bake is like a fancy mac and cheese! Here’s what’s in it:
- Pasta: I teamed up with DeLallo to make this pasta recipe. Their whole- wheat penne was the perfect choice, but you could really use any shape, like their shells, fusilli, or cavatappi.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin is obviously a key ingredient here, but you could also use butternut squash puree.
- Cheese: This dish isn’t called “cheesy baked pumpkin pasta” for nothing! I use gruyere, but you could swap it for white cheddar. I mix one cup with the pumpkin puree and half of a cup sprinkled on top for maximum
- Kale: I use two bunches of kale for this recipe, which means you’re getting a very healthy dose of greens. The kale cooks in the boiling pasta water for a couple of minutes before cooking the noodles. If you want to sub it for spinach, skip cooking it in water and just add it in towards the end with the pasta.
- Beans: I use cannellini beans but feel free to swap with great northern.
- Pancetta: Pancetta is basically Italy’s version of bacon, but you can sub it with bacon if you prefer.
- Other Ingredients: The onion cooks in the pancetta drippings with a little bit of salt, garlic, and red pepper. This combo really enhances the flavor of the whole meal.
- Panko: I top the pasta with panko, which gets crispy and golden in the oven. If you want to brown the breadcrumbs even more, you can broil the pasta for a minute or two at the end.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Pumpkin Pasta
This pasta will last in your fridge for up to five days and in the freezer for up to three months. I like to portion out leftovers into individual serving containers, so if I need a quick lunch, I can just pull one serving out at a time. Thaw overnight and then microwave to reheat.
You can also freeze the whole baking dish. Complete all the steps through topping the pasta with cheese. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, thaw overnight, sprinkle with panko, and then bake until heated through.
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love:
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- Beef Stew with Pumpkin
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Creamy Pumpkin Ginger Soup
Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Pancetta, Kale, and White Beans
- 6 oz panchetta, diced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 bunches kale, stemmed and torn
- 12 oz DeLallo whole-wheat or gluten-free penne pasta
- 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree, or butternut puree
- 1 ½ cups grated Gruyère or sharp Cheddar cheese , 4 ½ oz (I used Gruyere)
- ½ cup panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the pancetta until it’s crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or rack to cool and discard all but approximately 2 tsp rendered fat.
- To the same pan, add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes for the last minute and toast for just 20 to 30 seconds, before the garlic scorches.
- Add 2 Tbsp water to de-glaze the pan, scrape up any browned bits, and remove from the heat.
- While the onion cooks, fill a large pot of salted water and bring it to a boil.
- Preheat the oven to 450F and grease a rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
- Add the kale to the boiling water and cook for just 2 minutes or so, until it’s bright green and tender but not soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a colander.
- To the same pot, add the pasta and cook it a minute or two short of package instructions; it should be just shy of al dente.
- Reserve ¾ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta in the colander with the kale.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the canned pumpkin with 1 cup shredded Gruyère or Cheddar. Season generously with black pepper.
- Whisk ½ cup pasta water into the pumpkin mix. It should be about the consistency of bechamel, thin enough to coat the pasta but not watery; if needed, add a bit more water.
- Fold in the pasta, kale, onions, pancetta and beans and stir well to coat.
- Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese over the top; finish with the breadcrumbs and spray with a bit of cooking spray to increase browning..
- Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden. For deeper browning, place 3 to 4 inches beneath your broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
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This recipe is sponsored by Delallo. Thank you for allowing me to share the products I love, which allow you to get these recipes for free.