Playing How to Make Cheesy Baked Rigatoni with Pumpkin by Jeanette Donnarumma

This Italian comfort food classic gets a seasonal update from Senior Culinary Producer Jeanette Donnarumma, with canned pumpkin puree folded into the creamy ricotta layers.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • Salt
  • 6 cups tomato sauce, divided
  • One 15-ounce container ricotta
  • One 15-ounce container pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, about 16 ounces, cut into small cubes
  • 2 pounds loose sweet Italian pork or chicken sausage, browned and drained on paper towel-lined plate
Yield
Serves: 6-8
Preparation

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add rigatoni. Cook about 3 minutes shy of package directions and drain, then pour pasta back into the pot. Mix with 5 cups tomato sauce.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, pumpkin puree, Parmigiano-Reggiano and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

Mix in 2 cups mozzarella with the pasta.

In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, pour in the remaining 1 cup tomato sauce and spread across the bottom. Add half the pasta to the dish, and sprinkle with half the sausage. Using a spatula, spread half the pumpkin ricotta mixture on top. Repeat with the remaining pasta, sausage and pumpkin ricotta mixture, then top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 20 minutes more, or until browned on top and bubbling around the edge.