Pumpkin Pasta Bake

Pumpkin Pasta Bake

Without fail, towards the end of each winter, I go full nostalgic for the season we’re still in, not wanting the warm and comforting meals (or lifestyle) to end. A need to savour the winter - my favourite season, especially for the food. I haven’t shared a pasta bake recipe with you guys since last years eggplant and tomato pasta bake, an absolute classic that I love dearly. Enter: pumpkin. Rich, roasted pumpkin folded through ricotta, basil, onion, garlic, Parmesan, then pasta, drowned in more cheese and fried panko breadcrumbs then baked… It’s beautiful and luxe and look, it’s not not pumpkin mac and cheese.

This makes enough to serve 6, and if need be can be assembled ahead of time, then sprinkled with the breadcrumbs and baked just before dinner (if you do this, you may need to add on 10-20 minutes cooking time to accommodate for it being fridge temp. Make sure you taste and season well, especially during that final step once the pumpkin mix comes together with the pasta - it’s easy to under-season because there’s a lot of pasta and sauce, so you do need a fair bitta salt. If you make it too salty, that’s me 90% of the time, and you can give me too salty than disgustingly bland any day. I love it with a simple salad (hang on, I love anything with a simple salad). It would also do well alongside some charry, grilled broccolini with olive oil and lemon juice, or if you have time for something a bit more complicated, try my roasted Brussel’s sprouts with pancetta.


  • 1.8g kent pumpkin (approx 1.4kg diced)
  • ¼ cup + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely grated or chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ cup basil leaves
  • 500g firm ricotta cheese
  • 100g finely grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 500g short, large pasta (such as large spirals, macaroni or rigatoni)
  • 200g fresh mozzarella

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 50g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup panko

Serves 6


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut pumpkin into 3cm dice and toss in a bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place pumpkin on a lined baking tray and roast until golden brown (approx 25 minutes).
  4. In a medium pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium and sauté onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt until beginning to brown.
  5. Once pumpkin has cooked, transfer to your largest mixing bowl and mash until quite smooth, but with some texture remaining. Add onion and garlic mix, basil, ricotta, Parmesan and apple cider vinegar.
  6. Stir to combine, taste and season.
  7. For the breadcrumbs, heat 50g olive oil in a fry pan over medium and toss through Panko, stirring often, until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt flakes and set aside.
  8. Meanwhile, cook pasta in salty water until well before al dente (I’d subtract 4 mins off the suggested cooking time). Reserve ¾ cup of pasta water.
  9. Add reserved pasta water to the pumpkin mix and stir until combined, then fold through pasta and remaining pumpkin. Taste and season.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C.
  11. Pour the pasta mix into a baking dish (I use a 25x40cm lasagne tray). Top with thinly sliced or torn fresh mozzarella (very thinly sliced will maximise how much surface area you cover with the mozz) and finish with fried panko.
  12. Bake until bubbling at the sides (approx 20 mins), let stand for at least 5 minutes then serve.

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