Pumpkin Baked Ziti

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Prep your ingredients ahead of time for a quicker meal!

 

Ingredients

    • 3/4 lb. uncooked ziti or penne pasta
    • 3 onions, sliced very thinly
    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 recipe Cashew Ricotta (see below)
    • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • white pepper and cayenne, a dash of each
    • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
    • 1/4 c. vegetable broth

     

    SAGE BREAD CRUMBS

    • 2 1/2 c. bread crumbs, preferably homemade- made from a 1/2 baguette or 4 dinner rolls
    • 1/3 c. walnut pieces, chopped in a food processor until resembling coarse crumbs
    • 1/4 c. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
    • 2 tsp. dried, rubbed sage
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
    • 1/2 tsp. ground paprika
    • salt and pepper

    CASHEW RICOTTA

    • 1/2 c. raw cashew pieces, soaked in water for at least an hour
    • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled
    • 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
    • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt

 

Directions

To make the Cashew Ricotta:

  1. In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic until a thick, creamy paste forms.
  2. Add the crumbled tofu in batches and process until the mixture is thick and well blended.
  3. Blend in the basil and salt. Taste before adding all the salt; it may need a little less than the recipe calls for.

For the rest of the recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9X11 baking pan.
  2. Cook the ziti according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  3. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute the onions in oil until onion is very brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Place Cashew Ricotta in a large bowl and fold in the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, white paper, cayenne, veg broth, and mix.
  5. Add the cooked ziti and caramelized onions, stirring to coat the pasta. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press lightly with a rubber spatula to level it.

 

For the bread crumbs:

  1. Melt the margarine in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs, and paprika, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle evenly over the ziti.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top of the ziti is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Recipe shared by Melissa Boyle from Catering