Your ultimate fall pasta is here, and this pumpkin baked ziti couldn't be more delicious! Spicy chorizo and a creamy pumpkin sauce with fresh sage bring together some of fall's best flavors. A layer of rich ricotta and melted fontina then top our pasta for the perfect cheesy touch. Not only is this chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti simple to make but everyone always loves this cozy pasta, making it your new go-to fall meal for hosting good company.
While I love entertaining any time of year, there’s something special about sharing a meal with friends during the fall. With the holidays here, I get extra sappy and reflective when I spend time with my favorite people, and nothing turns up those sappy vibes like a little quality time over a comforting meal.
So what could be more perfect for a special meal than a creamy, cheesy baked pasta full of fall flavor? Plus, you can easily prepare this chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti ahead of time, which makes entertaining even easier. Now you can sit back and enjoy this time of year with friends and family over a good meal without an ounce of stress. Not bad, eh?
To make the process as easy as possible, let's first gather our ingredients.
- Pumpkin puree
- Chicken stock
- Heavy cream
- Fresh sage
If you can't find ziti, rigatoni or penne work well as substitutions. As you may have noticed, I actually used rigatoni for the photos. My grocery store was out of ziti, and I love rigatoni in baked pasta dishes. Bowties would also be a fun substitution for something a bit different.
I also highly recommend using freshly grated Parmesan instead of the canned variety. Freshly grated Parmesan melts perfectly with our ricotta while the canned stuff leaves a gritty texture. No one wants that.
Let's make some ziti! To start, I like to prepare our ricotta filling, so it's ready to go. We take care of this step by simply stirring together ricotta, Parmesan and an egg.
From here, we cook our chorizo in a skillet until browned like so.
I love making this dish in a cast-iron skillet because I can cook the chorizo and sauce in one pan and then use it to bake in the oven. A cast-iron skillet also has that rustic look I love with pumpkin dishes.
However, if you don't have a cast-iron or any other oven-safe skillet, you can just as easily cook everything in your favorite skillet and then transfer the mixture to a baking dish. This is also a nice option if you want to present the ziti out of serving ware that's fancier than a cast-iron skillet.
Now we remove our chorizo and cook our onions.
Once the onions soften, we add garlic and then our chicken stock, pumpkin puree, heavy cream, salt, fresh sage and a dash of cinnamon. We stir that until it becomes one cohesive mixture and bring it to a simmer.
Our sauce is now ready, and we can assemble our baked ziti. This is as simple as stirring in the reserved chorizo and cooked pasta and then topping with our ricotta mixture and shredded fontina. We pop our pumpkin ziti in the oven until it's nice and bubbly, and that's it! This chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti couldn't be easier to prepare.
Bonus: If you love this pumpkin pasta, also check out my pumpkin mac and cheese!
Can You Make Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. I love that about baked pasta dishes. You can make everything the day before serving, pour it into a baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Just make sure you bring it out of the refrigerate an hour or two before baking, and you're good to go. As I mentioned earlier, this makes our chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti a perfect dish for entertaining --- say a festival fall gathering or maybe a Friendsgiving celebration?
Looking for a beer? Let's get festive and grab a pumpkin IPA. When eating spicy food, the hops in the IPA bring out the heat, but we also get some sweetness to keep the palate in check.
Granted, a pumpkin IPA may not be easy to find if you don't shop at a large, well-stocked liquor store. In that case, you can go with an IPA if you want to accentuate the chorizo or a pumpkin ale if you prefer to counter the spice with a strong malt profile.
For wine, a glass of tempranillo is perfect. Chorizo is the dominant flavor in this dish, and the two are a classic pairing. Tempranillo shows off earthy yet fruity notes that balance the spice, and it brings enough acidity to cut through the fatty chorizo and creamy sauce.
For those times you need a comforting fall meal, I hope you try this chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti. Please let me know how you enjoyed this chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Fall Meals?
- Apple cider pot roast
- Cheddar-apple stuffed chicken thighs
- Spaetzle with bratwurst, sweet potatoes and caramelized onions
- Smoked Gouda-pumpkin polenta with brown butter shrimp
- Gruyere-pumpkin ale risotto
Chorizo and Pumpkin Baked Ziti
- 12-inch cast-iron skillet or 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish
- 1 pound dried ziti, rigatoni or penne pasta
- 1 (15-ounce) container of whole milk ricotta
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 pound fresh chorizo allow to sit in room temperature for 30 minutes
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced or grated
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin purée
- ¼ cup chopped fresh sage plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash or two of ground cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded fontina
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan until well combined in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the chorizo and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the chorizo cooks, use a wooden spoon to break up the chorizo. Once browned, remove chorizo from pan and leave a tablespoon or two of grease in the skillet.
- Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about four to five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, constantly stirring.
- Pour in the chicken stock and heavy cream. Add the pumpkin puree and stir until it becomes one cohesive sauce. Stir in the fresh sage, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the reserved pasta and chorizo. Spread the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta and then top with fontina. Bake in the oven until bubbling, about 20 minutes. If your skillet is not oven safe, first pour the pasta into a baking dish, top with ricotta and proceed with the rest of the directions. See below for make-ahead instructions.
- Once finished baking, allow the ziti to set for 10 minutes. Top with more fresh sage and serve. Enjoy!
- If making your own pumpkin puree, use about two cups.
- Make sure you use freshly grated Parmesan and not the canned stuff. The canned Parmesan will leave you with a gritty texture.
- To make this chorizo and pumpkin baked ziti ahead of time, make the dish up until baking. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator an hour or two before baking to allow it to come down in temperature and then bake at 350 degrees. You may need to bake it a little longer because it won't be as warm coming straight off the stove so give yourself a little extra time. Bake until bubbly and then let set for 10 minutes before adding more fresh sage on top and serving.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.