Monday, October 18, 2010

Baked Sausage Spinach and Pumpkin Ziti

I made this for the first time tonight after ideas from a few recipes floating around. It was absolutely the most delicious pumpkin dish/item I have made and I can't wait to eat some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow... It may even be making an appearance for Tia and Nathan's Halloween Spooktacular since its kid and adult friendly!

12 oz box whole-wheat ziti
2-4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
4 links hot Italian sausage (chicken or turkey), frozen
1 can pumpkin (be careful that its not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 can (12 fl. oz.) fat free evaporated milk
1 small box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim or 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (1.5 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375ยบ F. Spray 9"x13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta cooking water and set aside for later use. Drain pasta; return to cooking pot.

While the pasta is cooking, cut the sausage into 1/4" slices on a diagonal (its much easier to cut when still frozen).  Spray a skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Cook the sausage until its browned, and add the onions. When the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook until onion and garlic are browned. Add to the cooking pot with the pasta.

Turn the heat down in the skillet to low-medium. Add pumpkin, flour, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in medium skillet over medium heat. Slowly add evaporated milk, whisking until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Pour over pasta in pot. Add reserved pasta cooking water; stir well.

Spread half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with spinach. Cover with remaining pasta mixture, then the cheeses.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

It tastes AMAZING and packs a healthy punch of vegetables with the pumpkin and spinach.
Serving Size = 1/12 servings of recipe
Calories 200, Fat =4 grams

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