Two of my favorite fall flavors combine for the ultimate cheesy pasta bake that is also good for you! Yup, indulge in all the cheesy goodness for less than 300 calories per serving.
I debated whether I should wait for the official start of fall before posting a pumpkin recipe. But then I saw that Starbucks already has their pumpkin drinks out and the grocery store near me is selling pumpkins. So I figured if they can get their pumpkin on, then I can too!
Although Bry probably wishes things were different, I rarely make pasta at home. It’s not that I don’t like pasta, I do, but I never crave pasta, so oftentimes I simply forget about it’s existence (I know, many of you are probably cringing). But Bry on the other hand has been missing pasta like crazy since moving out West. While nowhere close to Boston’s North End Italian food, this pasta dish hits all the notes you could want from a baked pasta dish: cheesy, creamy, and chewy but not soggy. To make the dietitian in me happy, I also threw in some veggies and protein to make it more balanced. You’ll also notice that the sauce doesn’t call for any heavy cream or butter. It’s also a bit lower in the cheese, which is made possible by using a strongly flavored Pecorino Romano cheese – do not go with the cheep stuff, trust me, you want a nice, rich flavor!
This dish came about from me craving brussels sprouts mac and cheese, but wanting a healthier option. Enter in pumpkin puree. By using pumpkin, you don’t need all the excess cheese or cream to get a creamy, rich-tasting sauce. The roasted brussels sprouts also add a great caramelized note to the dish. Yes, there is the extra step, but by the time you boil the pasta and make the sauce, your sprouts will be perfectly roasted.
Bry and I loved this dish! It worked out even better that I made it on a cooler day, where we could sit out on our balcony, eating bowls of pumpkin pasta and people watch. I’ve come to adore having a balcony as Bry and I use it as a way to get away from the TV and computers. Instead, we get to just sit and be together without distraction – not always easy to do these days.
So here’s a toast to taking time out to enjoy the flavors of fall without distraction.
Cheesy Pumpkin and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Pasta Bake
- 1 lb brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 10- oz uncooked whole wheat pasta
- Organic chicken sausage cooked and diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 15- oz canned pumpkin puree
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- ½ cup shredded part skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover large baking sheet with foil.
- Prepare sprouts by cutting off the bottoms and removing the outer leaves.
- Cut sprouts in half and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut-side down.
- Roast for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned on the bottom. Remove from oven, but do not turn off oven.
- While sprouts are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While waiting for water to boil, place medium saucepan over medium heat and add oil, garlic, and shallots. Sauté until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in pumpkin, chicken broth, nutmeg, 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano Cheese. Stir well then add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Once boiling, follow package directions on pasta for al dente. Once cooked, drain past water and add pasta to pumpkin sauce.
- Add cooked chicken sausage and brussels sprouts to saucepan and give a quick stir. If your saucepan isn’t large enough, combine in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour mixture into a 9×13” dish and top with remaining shredded Romano and mozzarella cheeses.
- Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges slightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes then dig in!
Adapted from SkinnyTaste