Monday, October 03, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Another pumpkin recipe for you! Today I made the Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping from Veganomicon. This was initially something I ignored when I first looked through the book. I wasn't a big fan of pumpkin to begin with and savory pumpkin? No thank you, I thought. But one of my goals of this years MoFo was to step out of my comfort zone and try all kinds of squash in all kinds of dishes. I am so glad I made myself do that because this was beyond fabulous. Ridiculously good.

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

1 pound uncooked ziti or penne
2 onions, sliced very thinly
3 T olive oil
1 recipe cashew ricotta (follows)
1T brown sugar
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
White pepper and cayenne
2 c or 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1/4 c. vegetable broth

Cashew ricotta
1/2 c. cashew pieces (approx. 4 oz.)
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1-1/2 t. dried basil
1-1/2 t. salt

Sage bread crumbs
2-1/2 c. bread crumbs, preferably freshly made
1/4 c. Earth Balance or olive oil
2 t. dried, rubbed sage
1/2 t. ground paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9×11 or 9×13-inch lasagna pan with olive oil. Prepare ziti according to package directions. Drain, rinse, drain again and set aside.
While ziti is cooking, make the caramelized onions: preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute onions in oil until some onion bits are very brown and caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Make the cashew ricotta
In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in batches if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.

Place cashew ricotta in large bowl and fold in pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth. Add the cooked ziti and the caramelized onions. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and level with a spatula, pressing slightly.

Make the bread crumb topping: Melt margarine or heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, dried herbs, and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and spread over pasta mixture.
Bake 28 to 30 minutes, until the top of the ziti is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes about 6 kitten-sized servings


  1. Oh, yum. I haven't made the pumpkin baked ziti in so long. That stuff is so good. I'm glad your walk on the wild side paid off!

    Yesterday I was thinking that it would be cool to do a MoFo where you posted about retrying foods you don't like. So I'm delighted to see almost the same idea as the very first post on my reader this morning!

  2. I've wanted to try this dish ever since I got the book but never have tofu or cashews on hand. Sometime though!

  3. Yummy! This will definitely go on my 'pumpkin-to do-list' ;)

  4. And I die of kitten cuteness.

  5. I made this last fall and it was great! I, too, was really apprehensive about pumpkin, especially in a savory application. This recipe expelled those notions pretty quickly.

  6. You might have just convinced me to try pumpkin out in a savory dish! :)

  7. Anonymous8:31 AM

    that looks delicious!!!

  8. Kitten sized ziti, soooo cute.

  9. This is a great recipe, especially for fall or winter. It's a whole lot of work though. I wish I could make 1/2 the recipe the day before but don't know that would take away from the freshness. I'm in my 70's and this dish took me about 8 hours because there are so many parts and I like to clean up between the cashew sauce, onions, and making the bread crumbs.