Baked Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin

This is a dish we had just the week after Halloween. We used our very small jack-o-lantern, a sugar pumpkin. One of our daughter's friends asked for the recipe. It's really fun to honor such requests! This recipe serves four, possibly five, depending on how hungry everyone is.


1 lb. PastaBarilla Short Rigatoni works very well.
2 cups Pumpkin, freshI used our little sugar pumpkin, seeded, and cut up into smaller pieces.
1 cup Yellow OnionSliced thinly
¼ cup Fruit JuiceCranberry works well; also have used some syrup from canned pears.
½ cup Half and Half CreamScant; can also use sour cream.
½ cup Asiago CheeseGrated, can also use Parmesan.
2 tbsp Classic Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 clove GarlicMinced
¼ tsp White PepperOptional


1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have ready a rectangular baking pan, about 9X13 inches or so.
2 To begin, roast the pumpkin. Wash it, remove the seeds and stem. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks (no need to be fancy about this). Place chunks in roasting pan so that the chunks fit in one layer. Sprinkle with about a half teaspoon of salt. Either cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake for one hour. Turn oven off and either leave pan there until the next day or take out and let cool to room temperature. I did this preparation Halloween evening after the trick-or-treaters had come and gone, and then continued the recipe the next day.
3 To continue, bring a large pot of water to a boil in preparation for cooking the pasta.
4 To complete preparing the pumpkin, gently remove the skin and discard. Cut the pumpkin chunks into bite-size pieces and set aside until a bit later.
5 Cook the pasta until it is just al dente. It will cook further in the oven.
6 In a good-sized saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and let saute gently until they are somewhat limp and just slightly browned. Add the garlic and continue cooking just 30 seconds or so, until you detect the fragrance of the garlic.
7 Add the fruit juice and let cook gently until the liquid is reduced by about half. Add the cream and let simmer another few minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) and white pepper. Let simmer a bit more just to let the flavors blend. The consistency of the sauce should be somewhat like heavy cream.
8 Mix the drained pasta with the prepared pumpkin. Gently mix in the sauce until it is just combined. (Don't overmix or the pasta will begin to absorb the sauce, not what we want) Put this mixture in the baking pan, abd sprinkle with Asiago cheese, or substitute.
9 Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until top is just beginning to crisp with the cheese.
10 Serve at once. Good accompaniments are a crusty, somewhat grainy bread, and salad of your choice. Actually, cranberry relish works well too.