This Vegetarian Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Crispy Sage & Ricotta is the ultimate comfort fall food when you are craving something cheesy and carb-y.
Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta just shy for a minute or two from what the directions say on the package (it'll finish cooking in the oven). Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp butter and then whisk the 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour into the butter until a thick paste as formed. While whisking, slowly pour the milk into the mixture so that the butter mixture gets incorporated into the milk. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the mix has thickened enough that it coats the pack of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, and pumpkin puree. Pour the cooked pasta into the pumpkin sauce and stir until coated (alternatively, if your saucepan isn't big enough, pour into a large mixing bowl and toss until all the pasta is coated).
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, large eggs, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, minced garlic, and 2 Tbsp chopped sage.
Pour about 1/3 of the pumpkin pasta mixture into your prepared baking dish and smooth out into an even layer (no need to be exact). Using about half of the ricotta mixture, place large dollops of the mixture over the pumpkin pasta and then top with half of the torn mozzarella. Layer another 1/3 of the pumpkin pasta over that and top with remaining ricotta. Add the final layer of pumpkin pasta and finish with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is starting to brown.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat for a few minutes until brown specks start to form. Add the sage leaves and let them fry for 30 seconds or until just starting to turn dark. Remove from heat.
While the bake is still warm, pour the brown butter and sage over the top of the bake and serve. Feel free to sprinkle red pepper flakes on the top if you'd like a little extra heat.