Pumpkin Pasta Casserole with Camalized Onions and Walnut Topping
- 1 pound uncooked pasta (I did GF spirals)
- 2 onions, sliced very thinly
- olive oil
- 1 serving cashew ricotta (below)**
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
- White pepper and cayenne
- 2 cups or 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or apple cider
Cashew ricotta (makes 2 cups):
- 1/2 cup cashew pieces (approx. 4 oz.)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
- 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled (emphasis on drained)
- 1-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz. walnuts, diced fine to resemble bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. Earth Balance or olive oil
- 2 teaspoons 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 pan with olive oil. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, drain again and set aside.
While pasta 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, maple syrup, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth. Add the cooked pasta and the caramelized onions. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and level with a spatula, pressing slightly.
Make the walnut topping: Melt margarine or heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the walnuts, 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 top is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.