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Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni

Forget the sage and brown butter, this Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni has a tomato base and plenty of cheese for good measure!

Most pumpkin pasta recipes have all the same elements. Slightly sweet, lots of butter (usually browned), and of course, fall’s favorite herb, sage. While I love that pasta dish and have made many versions myself, I wanted something that was still tomato-based and cheesy but with the richness and body of the pumpkin. That’s where this Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni comes in!

There’s nothing more comforting than a big helping of cheesy pasta, especially in the cooler months. This pasta is so easy, so delicious, and perfect for the whole family! 

Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni Ingredients & Subs

olive oil
mild Italian sausage— You can definitely do spicy instead of mild if you want or chicken sausage (I love the Whole Foods Italian Chicken Sausage). You can also omit completely for vegetarians!
onion
garlic
dried oregano
nutmeg
fresh spinach — Feel free to omit if you need to! 
tomato sauce
pumpkin puree — Just make sure you’re getting pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. That would be a disaster. 
salt and pepper
rigatoni pasta — If you have penne, ziti, or another shortcut pasta in your pantry, that would work just fine as well. 
parmesan cheese — grated is my favorite option for finishing pasta. 
mozzarella cheese — Buy a block and shred it and slice it yourself. It will be cheesier and melt better than the bagged stuff!
fresh parsley 

How to Make

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook the meat for 3-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon.

Add the onion to the pan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and onion is softened.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the oregano and nutmeg. Add the spinach and let wilt slightly. Stir in the tomato sauce and pumpkin puree until combined and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes or until just thickened

To assemble, In a large bowl, toss the cooked rigatoni with all of the sauce.

Pour half of the pasta back into the cast iron skillet (Or baking dish) and top with half of the shredded mozzarella. Pour over the remaining pasta. Top with the sliced mozzarella and remaining shredded mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve with chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan over the top.

Can I use a baking dish instead of an oven-proof skillet?

Yes! A 9×9 or similarly sized dish should work just fine! I just like using my cast iron to save from dirtying more dishes, tbh! 

Can I make this baked rigatoni ahead of time?

Yes! You can assemble it up to 6 hours before you plan to bake it. Store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to put it in the oven. You may need to add a few minutes more to the cooking time to compensate for starting with a chilled dish.

You can also freeze in an airtight freezer container. Make sure the rigatoni is cooled down completely before freezing. Then cover the dish with a double layer of heavy-duty foil and label and freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat, just toss it in the oven for about an hour. Then uncover it for another 10-15 minutes. It should bubbly and melted in the center.

More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love!

One-Pot Cajun Shrimp Boil Pasta

Creamy Honey Nut Squash Pasta

Easy Spicy Chicken Pad Thai

Tuscan Salmon Fettucini Alfredo

One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Take a browse around the site and please let me know if you make anything by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or requests!

Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni

Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Forget the sage and brown butter, this Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Rigatoni has a tomato base and plenty of cheese for good measure!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed or in bulk
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta, cooked in salted water according to package directions
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • Fresh chopped parsley to finish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the meat for 3-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon. Add the onion to the pan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and onion is softened.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the oregano and nutmeg. Add the spinach and let wilt slightly. Stir in the tomato sauce and pumpkin puree until combined and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  5. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes or until just thickened
  6. To assemble, In a large bowl, toss the cooked rigatoni with all of the sauce.
  7. Pour half of the pasta back into the cast iron skillet (Or baking dish) and top with half of the shredded mozzarella. Pour over the remaining pasta. Top with the sliced mozzarella and remaining shredded mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve with chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan over the top.

Notes

See the blog post above.

Did you make this recipe?

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