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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Carmelized Onions and Sage

This is what Sunday afternoons look like in our house - - trying to get the little Miss No-No to just (pul-eeeze) take a nap! hahahah. Sleeping with Mr. No-No seems to be doing the trick lately. She just falls right out.

To kick off the Halloween season, officially, I decided to do a week of pumpkin / Halloween inspired dinners and lunches. For dinner last night, we had Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage from those wonder chefs that wrote Veganomicon. I love that book - everything comes out delish!! I didn't modify the recipe at all (except to cut it in half since it's only the 3 of us) so this is pretty much an exact copy from their book (plus my own little comments).

3/4 # uncooked ziti or penne pasta
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
1 recipe of Cashew Ricotta
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t ground nutmeg
White pepper and cayenne
2 c pureed pumpkin (or 1 15-oz can)
1/4 c veggie broth

Sage bread crumbs:
2-1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 c walnut pieces, chopped fine in a food processor
1/4 c vegan margarine
2 t dried, rubbed sage
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground paprika
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9 x 11" lasagna pan (or two smaller pans) with olive oil. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, set aside.

While pasta is cooking, make onions: Preheat a cast iron pan over medium. Saute onions in oil until brown and caramelized, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place cashew ricotta in a large bowl (really, you will need a LARGE bowl) and fold in pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne, and veggie broth. Add cooked pasta and onions, stirring to coat. Pour mixture into baking pan and press lightly to level.

Next, make the bread crumbs: Melt margarine in a heavy skillet (I wiped out the cast iron pan and used it again) over medium. Stir in bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is coated (and toasted, and smells faintly like Thanksgiving), about 4 minutes. Remove and sprinkle over pasta.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 before slicing and serving.

I served this with chopped raw carrots. It was a filling and complete meal. Miss No-No didn't eat that much (she isn't a big onion fan unless they are well hidden), but Mr. No-No gobbled it down! :)
What surprised me about this whole dish was how creamy it was - really - you can't miss cheese when you have such a wonderful substitute! As I said, these gals are mavens - - - and I know I can never go wrong making something from one of their cookbooks!

More later!  :)