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.
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 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
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.