I love pasta with a white sauce. Mrblocko prefers red sauce so we don't have it very often. This sauce is really a version of Bechemel sauce, so if you're familiar with that, or even making a roux/gravy, this dish will be a breeze for you.
As usual, I made a few changes to this recipe. The biggest one being I added a pound of spicy or Italian sausage. I also swapped out the ricotta for cottage cheese.
Now, I've had some pumpkin pasta disasters in the past. Thankfully, this was not one that was added to that list! The pumpkin in this dish acts as a vehicle for cheese. I'd say the cheese overwhelms the pumpkin which is not a bad thing. Just be aware, if you are looking for this meal to taste like pumpkin, you will be disappointed. Get that thought out of your head and you'll sit down to a scrumptious meal!
Pumpkin Sausage Pasta Bake adapted from A family feast
3/4 pound dry pasta (I used a mix of leftover tube shaped noodles like cavatappi, rigatoni and penne)
1 lb bulk hot or italian sausage
1 c pumpkin
1 c small curd cottage cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ c grated parmesan cheese (I used the stuff in the green container...gasp!)
½ t nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
1 t parsley
1/3 c butter
1 T chopped fresh sage
3 heaping T flour
1 c milk (i used skim)
1 c chicken stock
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ t mustard powder
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
Cook pasta to al dente. Drain. While pasta cooking, brown sausage, drain.
To make the pumpkin filling: In med bowl, combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan , nutmeg, sausage, white pepper and parsley. Mix well and set aside. To make the white sauce: nuke stock and milk for a few min to remove the chill. Set aside. In sm sauce pan melt butter over med heat and add sage. Saute 4 min. Add flour. Cook 3 more min. Slowly add hot stock and milk to butter and flour mix, 1/4c at a time, whisking each time. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Heat oven to 375 F. To assemble: In 9x13 dish, layer ingredients as follows: 1/4th White Sauce, 1/3rd pasta, 1/3rd Pumpkin filling and 1/4th mozzarella. Repeat layers 2 times. Then add one last layer of white sauce and mozzarella. Bake uncovered 30-40 min til top golden and bubbly.