{Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Pasta Bake}

Looking for a little something pumpkin and savoury to make for dinner over the weekend? How about this cozy and satisfying casserole. Mmmm, cheesy fall flavours, chicken, and tomato sauce mingle together deliciously in this thoughtful one-dish meal shared with us by the lovely Emily Mardell of GetJoyfull blog.

If you happened to get busy after our last post on how to make your own Perfect Pumpkin Puree, and now have a stash of fresh pumpkin (or squash) puree in your refrigerator– this is the perfect use for it.

Remember >> Many winter squash varieties can be used interchangeably with pumpkin in recipes, and this dish is certainly one of them. (See post for more info.)

Emily, who is a sports & family dietitian, busy mama of three, and proud Alberta foodie, shares:

“I like to think a great casserole has three key elements. A yummy whole grain, a satisfying protein, and a seasonal vegetable. This recipe checks all these boxes and then some. You’ll have to hold yourself back from eating this dish straight from the serving spoon. It’s that creamy good!”

I couldn’t agree more– just looking at the pictures had me cozied up and ready for a plate full.

Thank you for sharing this recipe with us Emily. (Check out her blog for more nourishing, family gathering recipes.) Have a happy fall everyone!

Creamy Chicken & Pumpkin Pasta Bake

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Servings: 8
Author: Emily Mardell, Registered Dietitian

Ingredients

Pasta + Filling:

  • 1 pkg jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 lg egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Sauce + Garnish:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb fresh ground chicken
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mini bocconcini
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Cook pasta shells to al dente. Drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent pasta shells from sticking together.
  • In a medium bowl, mix all filling ingredients together until well combined. Stuff cooked pasta shells with filling and set aside.
  • In an oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat, cook chicken with olive oil, onion, bell peppers, oregano and fennel seeds, until crumbled and golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Add tomato sauce, milk, oregano to skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add stuffed pasta to skillet in an even layer and top with mini bocconcini and red pepper flakes.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until bubbling and golden. Remove the skillet from the oven and allow pasta to rest for 5 minutes before plating. Enjoy with mixed greens.