Baked Pasta with Pumpkin and Pancetta

Baked pasta takes on a new form with this seasonal comfort food dish.

Starting now, we’re going to show you how you can achieve great taste with a select ingredient each month. This content was created in partnership with Food52.

Baked pasta isn’t all ziti and red sauce and pasta parties. This version, made earthy from pumpkin and savory from pancetta, demands respect. Place it in the center of your table (it won’t settle for less), pour the wine, and watch it disappear.

Drawing inspiration from classic baked pastas, this recipe is no less comforting than its predecessors, and it’s no less straightforward: It’s just as much at home at a last-minute gathering as it is at a lazy Sunday dinner. Grab a box of pasta and the nearest pumpkin — here’s how to make your new favorite pasta:

Roast a pumpkin until caramelized and tender throughout. (Is your market fresh out? Use butternut in a pinch.) Par-cook the pasta, and then onto the sauce: Blend roasted pumpkin and cream, and then stir together with cheese, herbs, and pancetta. Taste test. Add a pinch of salt if needed. Taste again. Fold the pasta with the warmed sauce, pile it into a casserole dish, and bake until the top turns crispy and your whole kitchen smells like fall.

Live.Love.Lux Tip: With the convection technology in Electrolux ranges and wall ovens, you can count on a consistent roast while you then turn your attention to crisping the pancetta.

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin and Pancetta

Servings: 6 - 8

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Ingredients

One 3-pound cheese pumpkin (in a pinch, use butternut squash)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

1 pound small shell pasta (conchiglie)

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 pound shredded fresh mozzarella

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup Fontina, coarsely grated

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup ricotta

1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped sage leaves

Instructions

Heat the oven to 400° F. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into 8 wedges and arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets, cut sides down. Sprinkle the wedges with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for about an hour, flipping once, until the pumpkin is caramelized and tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Crisp the pancetta in a saucepan over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Discard the fat, but keep the saucepan out for warming up the pumpkin cream later.

Turn the oven up to 500°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 5 minutes. Drain, and run cool water over it for about 10 seconds. Set aside in the colander.

Scoop about 2 1/2 cups of the roasted pumpkin into a blender, and add the cream. Blend just until smooth, then pour into the saucepan and place over low heat to warm through. Stir in the cheeses, herbs, pancetta, and another pinch of salt. Add the reserved pasta and fold together just until combined.

Spread the pasta evenly in a shallow casserole or baking dish. Bake uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, until the top is browned and the bottom layer of pasta is just tender.

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