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Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Pancetta, Kale And White Beans

This healthy pumpkin pasta bake is total comfort food!

Yes, healthy and comfy! @skinnytaste pairs pumpkin, pasta and pancetta with kale, white beans and topped with gruyère and panko breadcrumbs. Delicious!

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1hr and 15 min

Servings: 8


  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and torn
  • 1 (1-pound) bag DeLallo Organic Whole-Wheat Cavatappi Pasta
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans DeLallo Imported Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree, or butternut puree
  • 1 ½ cups grated Gruyère or sharp Cheddar cheese , 4 ½ ounce (I used Gruyere)
  • ½ cup DeLallo Panko Breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumb


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the pancetta until it’s crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or rack to cool and discard all but approximately 2 teaspoons of rendered fat.
  • To the same pan, add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes for the last minute and toast for just 20 to 30 seconds, before the garlic scorches.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan, scrape up any browned bits, and remove from the heat.
  • While the onion cooks, fill a large pot of salted water and bring it to a boil.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F and grease a rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Add the kale to the boiling water and cook for just 2 minutes or so, until it’s bright green and tender but not soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a colander.
  • To the same pot, add the pasta and cook it a minute or two short of package instructions; it should be just shy of al dente.
  • Reserve ¾ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta in the colander with the kale.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the canned pumpkin with 1 cup shredded Gruyère or Cheddar. Season generously with black pepper.
  • Whisk ½ cup pasta water into the pumpkin mix. It should be about the consistency of bechamel, thin enough to coat the pasta but not watery; if needed, add a bit more water.
  • Fold in the pasta, kale, onions, pancetta and beans and stir well to coat.
  • Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese over the top; finish with the breadcrumbs and spray with a bit of cooking spray to increase browning.
  • Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden. For deeper browning, place 3 to 4 inches beneath your broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.