Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce

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This Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce is such a delicious and comforting meal for the cooler months of fall.

Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce and Fresh Sage

I had so much fun creating this recipe.  Wanting to create a great fall pasta dish, I decided to go with chopped pumpkin added to the filling of this manicotti.  You can substitute chopped butternut squash, if you prefer.

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti : Bechamel Sauce in the baking dish

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti:

I use fresh pumpkin (sugar pie pumpkin) in my Pumpkin Manicotti. I roast it up with a little bit of olive oil and maple syrup. Then I mix it with some ‘typical’ manicotti filling ingredients… cream cheese, ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, etc. and added some chopped fresh sage in there too.

A creamy, white bechamel sauce is the perfect choice to accompany the flavors of pumpkin and sage.  You’ll start by making the bechamel sauce and putting a thin layer of it in your baking dish.

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti : filling the manicotti shells

I discovered a little secret for stuffing manicotti noodles that I also use for my Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti recipe. I scoop the stuffing into quart-sized zip bags, snip the end and squeeze the filling  into the noodles. It works really well, and you don’t have to struggle with the mess of trying to spoon it in.

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti : manicotti in the baking dish

Snuggle your filled manicotti noodles side by side in the baking dish.

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti : Bechamel Sauce on top

The rest of the bechamel sauce is spooned on top.  There should be enough to cover all of the pumpkin manicotti.

How to Make Pumpkin Manicotti : fresh sage on top

You’ll add a little chopped fresh sage to finish it off.  It’s then covered and baked for an hour.  When it emerges from the oven, it will be hot and bubbly.

Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce

This manicotti turns out to be a really excellent fall dinner. The roasted pumpkin is perfectly textured and wonderful with the melted mozzarella cheese and sage, as well as the creamy, nutmeg-tainted sauce.

If you’re looking for more fall pasta recipes, you might also enjoy my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage or these Butternut Squash Stuffed ShellsFall Rotini Pasta Salad and Creamy Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta are also really great pasta recipes to make during the fall months.

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Pumpkin Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce

This Pumpkin Manicotti is a great fall comfort food dish.  Pumpkin, sage and cheeses are stuffed into manicotti shells and topped with the most delicious creamy white sauce!
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 14 servings (2 manicotti per serving)
Calories 432kcal
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword manicotti, pumpkin

Ingredients

ROASTED PUMPKIN:

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin (peeled, seeds scraped out & diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

BECHAMEL SAUCE:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups 2% low fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best!)

FILLING:

  • 2 cups (packed) chopped fresh spinach
  • 16 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • 16 ounces ball mozzarella cheese, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

NOODLES:

  • 2 boxes manicotti noodles, prepared to al dente, and set aside to cool

TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage

Instructions

ROAST THE PUMPKIN:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss pumpkin with olive oil and maple syrup. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread coated pumpkin cubes onto tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes; toss and then roast for 10 more minutes (until slightly tender). Let cool.

PREPARE THE SAUCE:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

PREPARE THE FILLING:

  • In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Stir in cooled, roasted pumpkin cubes.

ASSEMBLE THE MANICOTTI:

  • Spray a 13x9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Stuff noodles with filling using small cocktail fork or spoon (or see *Recipe Notes below).
  • Spoon a layer of sauce on bottom of pan, then lay stuffed manicotti noodles side by side on top of sauce. Cover with remainder of sauce. Sprinkle with fresh sage.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Notes

  • *Another idea for filling the noodles… put filling ingredients in a couple of quart-sized bags. Snip the corner, rubber band the top of the bag and squeeze into the cooked noodles.
  • *All of the noodles might not fit into a 9x13-inch pan. You may need an additional 8x8-inch pan to make room.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 432mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3990IU | Vitamin C: 4.6mg | Calcium: 437mg | Iron: 1.6mg
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Comments

  • Mary Bianchetti wrote:

    Can you make this ahead? I have made manicotti ahead with marinara sauce but never with bechamel.
    Can I completely assemble day before? If I out a plastic wrap on top will that prevent bechamel from forming a film?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I would think it would be okay to make it a day ahead.

  • Judy wrote:

    Can this dish be frozen? Before/after baking?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried this.

  • Cheryl Keith wrote:

    I’m really interested in trying this recipe but I noticed an oddity in the instructions regarding roasting the pumpkin. You never say when/how to use the maple syrup but you want your reader to put in salt & pepper two times. I’m going to assume that is an error and that the maple syrup should be combined with the olive oil. Therefore, the salt & pepper is sprinkled on the coated pumpkin after the pumpkin is placed on the baking sheet.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      You are absolutely correct- sorry for the confusion. I have fixed!

  • Pirate T wrote:

    The butternut squash substitution worked like a charm, and made enough filling for both a full round of manicotti *AND* a day-later lasagna!

    Both versions were extremely popular at my house, but because I was such a spazz with filling the manicotti, I think I’ll go lasagna in the future. But this is definitely getting added to my “fancy dinner/potluck” rotation. NOM!! Thank you!

  • Cait B wrote:

    My boyfriend and I made this tonight – or technically he “made” it as a surprise dinner and I “supervised” – at any rate, this was fantastic. The sauce is great, but I found that I ran low and had to make a separate small pan with red sauce – still fantastic! I think this might be our new go-to for a great fall dish. And thanks for the tip on using icing-style filling bags – it made a tough job so much easier! Can’t wait to make it again and check out your other recipes!

  • Kathy wrote:

    This looks wonderful and I’m anxious to try it, but how much is 1 pie pumpkin? Can you give me some idea as to the size of the pumpkin or the quantity of cubes? Thanks.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Kathy, Pie pumpkins are smallish pumpkins that you’ll find in your market (they’re sometimes labeled as sugar pumpkins). I didn’t weigh weigh or measure it olut or anything, but I would imagine that when I cut it up, I came out with about 4-5 cups of cubed pumpkin. You can wing it on the pumpkin- however much you want in there is perfectly fine.