Baked Ziti {with Pumpkin, Sausage, Spinach + Mushrooms}

The weather has finally dipped into the 70's this week and we are getting a glimmer of Fall around here.
I even wore boots for the first time this week! Yay!
Fall weather makes me crave casseroles & warm pasta dishes.
Every Sunday afternoon I do my meal planning for the week & go to the grocery store.
This past weekend we didn't get back from Tahoe until the evening and I was too tired to go to the store, plus the 49ers were playing the Broncos on Sunday Night Football and I wanted to watch the game.
Our fridge was pretty bare, but I had some sausage, mushrooms & fresh spinach.
I always keep pasta in my pantry, so I had a box of that. During the Fall, canned pumpkin is also a staple in my pantry. I decided to get a little creative & make up a recipe.
One of my favorite things to do is to test out different ingredients and make up recipes.
Sometimes they don't turn out so good and sometimes they turn out to be a winner.
This one was a winner! It was delicious.
Baked Ziti {with Pumpkin, Sausage, Spinach + Mushrooms}
 Here is what you need:
 1 (1lb) box of Pasta
1 lb of Sausage (I use Sweet Italian)
1 can (15 oz) canned Pumpkin
4 cups of fresh spinach
Diced Onion (I use pre-diced because my eyes are so sensitive to chopping onions)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cayenne pepper
1 can (12 fl oz) Evaporated Milk. (I used low fat, but you could use non-fat)
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup  Parmesan cheese

{Boil water for your pasta & have your pasta cook while you are making the sauce. Cook pasta according to package directions}
Cut your sausage links into slices.
 Cook your sausage & diced onions.
 After your sausage is fully cooked, remove the sausage from the pan & set aside. I kept some of the onions & sausage grease in the pan.
In the same pan, add the can of pumpkin, garlic powder, salt & cayenne pepper.
 Stir it up.
 Then add the can of evaporated milk (you could use half & half, but I didn't have that, so I used evaporated milk!)
Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly.
 Then, add the sliced mushrooms to the sauce (if you don't like mushrooms, leave them out...we love mushrooms!)
 Then add the sausage back into the pan. Stir & cook over meduim heat for another 2-3 minutes.
 Your pasta should be done cooking by now, so in a big bowl, mix the pasta, spinach, sauce & 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
 Mix it all together so the sauce has coated everything. Put into a 9x13 baking dish.
 Add another 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese & the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan to the top.
 Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Then for an additional 5-10 minutes bake with out the foil.
This dish turned out delicious! It was full of flavor & not too pumpkin-y at all. 
In fact, I didn't even tell Kevin there was pumpkin in the pasta until AFTER he ate dinner & declared it delicious. I think if I told him there was pumpkin in it, he would have been skeptical about eating it. Ha!
Plus, he thinks I over do it with pumpkin during October & November. 
What? You can never have too much pumpkin :)
We had pumpkin beer with this meal & it was a yummy combo.
I love it when I can make a meal/recipe out of random things that I have in our fridge/pantry.
I also love that this dish had a lot of veggies in it....pumpkin, fresh spinach & fresh mushrooms!
This dish made a lot of food and it tasted great as leftovers the next day.

Check out more of my Pumpkin Recipes in my Recipe Box on my Toolbar!
Enjoy & Happy Friday!!!


  1. That looks so yummy! Do your kids eat with you or do you serve them something different?

  2. I can't wait to try this! We used Sous Kitchen (one of those locally sourced meal delivery companies) and they sent us a phenomenal sausage and pumpkin rigatoni that I think this would be really close to. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The best recipes sometimes coming from having "nothing to eat"! I made a really yummy chicken parmesan quinoa the other night because I hadn't gone to the store yet. Can't wait to try your recipe!

  4. Umm...you might actually have me WANTING to cook. I don't think I've ever said that out loud, let alone written it! Grocery shopping (ugh, still hate that more) tomorrow it is! I've got to make this! :)

  5. That looks yummy! Great idea with the beer:) I will have to give this a try!!


  6. Hi Mel, I made this for dinner -- made it two ways in mini casserole dishes and made a few adaptations such as Paprika, minced garlic, cheddar and penne pasta- one with sausage and one without for the vegetarians in my household -- so good and so easy!! It is great how adaptable it is. I love your recipes, wholesome, fuss free and delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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