foodie fridays: mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs

mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs

Did I ever tell you that I was in a band?

Okay, not a full-on Guns N’ Roses rock band, although I do a mean Axl Rose impersonation, but more of a fifth-grade-try-to-get-first-chair kind of band. In my fifth grade band, there were no tour buses stocked full of giggle juice. No one wore leather pants. There were no smoke machines and laser light shows. There was only a room filled with black chairs, music stands, and chocolate milk waiting for us when we finished.

mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs

What instrument did I play? Well, I desperately wanted to play the saxophone. But my parents gave me the saxophone-shiv and said I needed to pick a different instrument. So you could imagine my excitement when I had to pick the flute because the clarinet section was full.

From the beginning, the flute and I did not get along whatsoever. I felt awkward holding the long, skinny piece of steel. Plus, I could never jive with the sound of the flute. Granted, the flute can play in any musical key, but I would look at it and think to myself, “Really? Why can’t you sound more jazzy?” Sigh.

mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs

Needless to say my elementary band days were short lived. I dove straight into sports after that and never really thought about musical instruments again. Until college when I tried to play the guitar. Let’s just say yours truly is not musically inclined.

So….what does today’s pumpkin pasta bake have to do with musical instruments? Not a darn-tooting thing. But, I would say if Guns N’ Roses were to ever go back on tour (still keeping my fingers crossed), I think they would get down on some of these mini guys.

Who would say no to creamy pumpkin with crispy bacon and gooey baked cheese? Definitely not a legendary 90’s rock band. Slash would probably give these mini pumpkin pasta bakes a solo.

Hey, it could happen.

mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs

Mini Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Crispy Bacon and Fresh Herbs

Yield: Serves 3

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


1/2 pound rigatoni pasta
1 large shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chicken stock (+more if needed)
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 pieces of bacon, cooked, diced
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray three, four-inch wide mini springform pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until slightly al dente. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, take the rigatoni and stand them up filling each springform pan.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, cream, sage leaves, rosemary, thyme, egg, Gruyere cheese, and a pinch of s&p. Stir to combine. In a medium skillet preheated to medium-high heat, add olive oil. Then add shallots and garlic with a little s&p. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the shallots have softened. Add the pumpkin mixture. Stir and then gradually whisk in the chicken stock. Add more if the sauce is to thick. Once the sauce has cooked for a couple of minutes and is at the desired consistency, pour the mixture over the noodles making sure to fill the cracks.

Add the mozzarella on top (1/4 cup per pan) and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let the pumpkin bake cool. When cool, release the spring and place pasta bake on a plate and garnish with extra herbs and crispy bacon. Repeat with remaining two. Enjoy!!

adapted from Half Baked Harvest

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36 Responses to “foodie fridays: mini pumpkin pasta bake with crispy bacon and fresh herbs”

  1. #
    Ali @ Inspiralized — October 25, 2013 at 12:57

    This is ridiculously creative and beautiful! I love the idea of this mini pasta bake. I’m also a big rigatoni fan. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 16:59

      Thank you, Ali! It’s a super fun recipe!

  2. #
    Carrian — October 25, 2013 at 12:58

    This looks delicious! And it is so beautifully done!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 16:59

      Mwah! Thank, Carrian!

  3. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — October 25, 2013 at 13:04

    This has it all….creative, delicious and amazing fall flavors!! Stunning photos!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:00

      Thank you, Kelli! Have a super fab weekend!

  4. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — October 25, 2013 at 13:05

    Oh my gosh!! This is the best idea ever!!! I am making these immediately!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:01

      Yay! You will love these!

  5. #
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes — October 25, 2013 at 13:25

    This is such a fun idea. I may have to go out and buy some little springform pans now.

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:01

      Thanks, Barbara! They were super fun to make and the little springform pans aren’t expensive and so easy to use:)

  6. #
    Kathryn — October 25, 2013 at 13:32

    Ah, these are so cute! Love the idea of baking the pasta in the little springform tin. They are perfect!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:02

      Thank you, Kathryn! Why is every mini so fun to cook? Have a great weekend!

  7. #
    Erika — October 25, 2013 at 13:32

    This is where it’s at lady… Love the mini idea and bacon..I can def get down with bacon on my pasta bake. ;)

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:03

      Thank you, my dear! Bacon and pumpkin are definitely in the circle of love!

  8. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — October 25, 2013 at 13:50

    How cute!!!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:03

      Thanks, Claire! xoxo

  9. #
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — October 25, 2013 at 14:43

    This is such a great idea, I love standing up pasta to make one delicious bake! I gotta try this.. thanks!

    • Lauren replied: — October 25th, 2013 @ 17:03

      Thank you, Pamela! It’s a super fun recipe. Plus, anything mini is so fun to make!

  10. #
    Maria Kollision — October 25, 2013 at 17:19

    These look great! I wouldn’t have thought of pairing pumpkin and bacon, but the combination sounds tasty! And the possibilities are endless…. pumpkin and cream cheese dip with bacon pieces, pumpkin ice cream with caramel and bacon, pumpkin wrapped in bacon and kebabed…

    Congratulations, now I have a new food obsession :p

  11. #
    Ashley - Baker by Nature — October 25, 2013 at 17:50

    Whoa mama! Talk about comfort food to the MAX!

  12. #
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking — October 25, 2013 at 18:00

    What a tasty pumpkin pasta and I really like the individual serving sizes!

  13. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — October 26, 2013 at 00:51

    LOVE that you did a mini version of this! And pumpkin?! Perfect. :)

    (And I played the flute too once upon a time, long long ago…)

  14. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 26, 2013 at 01:00

    Seriously cute!! I absolutely adore this mini version.

  15. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — October 26, 2013 at 19:53

    Dude I played the saxophone for 4 YEARS in grade school and middle school! Though I only made it to second chair, because stupid Bridget B. was always just thatmuch better than me (OK, she’s not stupid, but STILL. I’m totally over it now, though, psh…). And then I decided I was done with band and moved onto musical theater. And then one time I was a camel in a musical. And now I’ve shared too much.

    But about this PASTA! Love the flavors and presentation! And all that cheeeeeeese. :)

  16. #
    Christy @ My Invisible Crown — October 27, 2013 at 01:48

    This looks absolutely delicious! I’m having a pasta craving lately! Super cute, too. I wondered from the picture how you got them to stand up so pretty. Paccheri is a tube like pasta that’s probably a little bigger than this but is cooked standing up. This is awesome.

  17. #
    Joanne — October 27, 2013 at 13:30

    You and I were kind of thinking alike this week with our pasta bakes in springform pans! Love.

    I grew up on the piano although I did dabble in clarinet for a while. I have a feeling I never got past the whiny stage of clarinet-ing, though.

  18. #
    Becky @ A Calculated Whisk — October 27, 2013 at 13:59

    This looks so amazing! I bet it would be great with paccheri, too–have you tried it? Just like rigatoni but bigger. I tried to make a stand-up pasta bake like this once, but did not think to use a springform pan, and it kind of all fell over. I will have to try this one…pumpkin and cheese are so fabulous together!

  19. #
    Julia — October 27, 2013 at 22:14

    So creative!! The flavors in this sound perfect for a cold fall day–very comforting!

  20. #
    Molly @ Yes to Yolks — October 27, 2013 at 22:48

    This looks amazing! I could SO go for something cozy like this right now. Beautiful pictures, by the way!

  21. #
    Tracey — October 28, 2013 at 00:51

    I’m always looking for new ways to use my mini springform pans – love this! The flavors are amazing and the presentation so gorgeous.

  22. #
    Albert — October 28, 2013 at 05:33

    I made this and it was great! But the ingredient list contains cream but the instructions do not. Did you stir the cream into the pumpkin mixture?

    • Lauren replied: — October 29th, 2013 @ 01:03

      Hi Albert! Sorry, I have updated the directions to include the cream. But yes, you add the cream to the pumpkin mixture! Sorry about that. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  23. #
    Aggie — October 28, 2013 at 14:06

    Ha ha, I was a clarinet player…and was always competing with the same girl for first chair.

    This looks insanely delicious!!

  24. #
    Mackenzie {SusieFreakingHomemaker} — November 21, 2013 at 00:36

    This is just absolutely stunning!

  25. #
    Rachel Cooks — November 21, 2013 at 14:02

    Haha I picked out three of your recipes from Feedly to comment on and they all included bacon. I love it! And this one has to be my favorite. Loving every single inch of it.

    And I played the flute too!

  26. #
    Tracy — June 2, 2014 at 03:25

    Genius! there are a lot of beautiful recipes, thanks be to all of the food bloggers, but this one is a stand out. I can’t wait to make this! It’ll be another 4 months before my pumpkins are ready but am pinning this and waiting patiently. Pumpkin is the most glorious and under utilized fruit in the garden, my view. Thank YOU!

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