Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

This post is sponsored by McCormick.
Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake | Aggie's Kitchen

Growing up, my family’s version of “macaroni and cheese” was quite different than the norm. I did not realize this until I was much older. Our go-to cheesy pasta dish always consisted of macaroni with just enough ricotta and lots of Parmesan cheese and I absolutely loved it. Simple Italian comfort food at its best. (Though it wasn’t too long before we discovered and began to love the stuff that came in the “blue box”. ) 🙂

Ricotta was almost always guaranteed to be found in my family’s fridge growing up. We added it to pasta dishes, and even had it as a snack in a small bowl with a little sprinkle of sugar on top. When I buy it now it’s usually to when I’m making baked ziti or lasagna and I often wonder why I don’t pick it up more often to enjoy in other recipes – like this one I created for the McCormick’s Go4Gourmet Challenge.

Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake | Aggie's Kitchen

The Go4Gourmet Challenge challenges you to work with and create your very own recipe using 4 pre-selected seasonal ingredients along with whatever else plays to your tastebuds. I’m always faced with ingredient challenges like this in my very own kitchen when I play the “use it up” game – which happens pretty often – so this was right up my alley. My round of the Go4Gourmet Challenge was to create a recipe using the ingredients pumpkin, cinnamon, Mediterranean Sea Salt and Marcona almonds. I immediately knew I wanted to create a savory pasta dish of some kind and my childhood ricotta pasta dish came to mind and tied it all together.

Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake | Aggie's Kitchen

I incorporated the pumpkin and spices into a creamy ricotta and Parmesan cheese mixture to add to whole grain pasta, topping it with a crunchy Marcona almond, panko and Parmesan crumble. I absolutely loved the crunchy bits of almonds in the topping! And of course we already know freshly grated Parmesan makes everything better…

Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake | Aggie's Kitchen

This Pumpkin-Ricotta Pasta Bake is really nothing like my childhood “mac ‘n cheese”, nor is it even close to my kids’ favorite version of baked macaroni and cheese – my daughter made sure to let me know that. Instead, this pasta is a wonderfully flavorful and comforting seasonal dish that I could not stop myself from eating after it came out of the oven.  It’s unique, in a good way, and if you are a fan of savory pumpkin dishes like I am then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

If you were asked to come up with a recipe using pumpkin, sea salt, cinnamon and Marcona almonds, what you make? Better yet, cook up your idea and submit it the Go4Gourmet Challenge here for a chance to win some an amazing assortment of spices and ingredients (each round) as well as a Grand Prize of a Gourmet pantry refresh worth $1000! Good luck and happy cooking!

Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake | Aggie's Kitchen

Print Recipe

Pumpkin-Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Bake


  • 13 oz whole wheat rotini (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Roasted or Saigon Cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon McCormick Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a medium sized baking dish (I used 6 x 8) with butter, set aside.
  2. Prepare your pasta according to directions, drain.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, ricotta, Parmesan, cinnamon, Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt, ground pepper and chicken broth. Taste for seasoning and add additional sea salt (regular, non spiced) as needed.
  4. Add pasta to pumpkin-ricotta mixture and gently combine. Pour into buttered baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, combine chopped Marcona almonds, panko, Parmesan cheese, Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt and butter until crumbly (I use my fingers to combine). Sprinkle topping over pasta in baking dish.
  6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.

A seasonal and savory pumpkin baked pasta dish perfect for any dinner table. This recipe was created for the McCormick Gourmet Challenge.

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(Disclosure: I received product and compensation for creating a recipe for McCormick’s Go4Gourmet program. All opinions are 100% my own.)

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