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Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Updated: Friday, February 7 2014, 12:13 PM EST
Servings: 8

½ lbs. Sweet Italian Sausage
1 small White Onion chopped
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ 15 oz can of Pumpkin puree (7-8 oz. of the puree)
½ cup Chicken stock
1 tsp. Sage leaves, fresh chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup of Heavy Cream
½ lbs. Ziti (penne or rigatoni) pasta, cooked
1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, fresh chopped
½ cup Parmesan, Grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray (4) 8 oz. ramekins. Cook the sausage in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage from a skillet with a slotted spoon, drain this on a paper towel and set aside. Discard all but 2 Tbsp of fat from the skillet. Then pour the remaining sausage fat into a sautee pan and add in the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and olive oil. Stir this occasionally until everything is soft, which is about 3 minutes. Next add in the chicken stock and de-glaze the pan. Once you have de-glazed the pan add in the sage and the pumpkin puree. Mix this together and season with salt. Bring this mixture to a boil then lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes stir in the cream and sausage and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce comes together and is thickened slightly. Add in the cooked pasta and parsley to the skillet and gently toss all the ingredients until  coated. Divide the mixture between the 8 prepared ramekins. Sprinkle the tops of each with Parmesan cheese and bake for 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.Pumpkin Baked Ziti

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LOCAL 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati - In the Kitchen with Kroger - Sean Schmidt Chef Sean Schmidt
Chef Sean Schmidt was born in Chicago, IL and grew up there until his family relocated to Oldbridge, New Jersey. After 6 years, Sean returned to the Chicago area and attended Plainfield High School. He was then accepted to and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts.

Sean joined Kroger in 2000 and has served in many capacities in various locations including Chef’s Choice Catering, Anderson Towne Center Kroger Store, and the Lebanon and Middletown Marketplace Stores. Sean’s favorite dishes to prepare are grilled items - meats, vegetables and even desserts. Sean is an Executive Chef at the Centerville Marketplace Store.

Sean likes to garden and spend time with his wife and kids.
LOCAL 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati - In the Kitchen with Kroger - Christopher Alexander Chef Christopher J. Alexander
Chef Christopher J. Alexander was born in Lubbock, Texas but raised in Xenia, Ohio. He graduated from Xenia High School then attended Sinclair Community College and the New England Culinary Institute.

After working in various 4 star restaurants in locations including New Orleans, Vermont, and The British Virgin Islands, Christopher joined Kroger in 2009 and has served at both the Stroop Road Fresh Fare and Englewood Marketplace. Christopher has been a fan of the culinary arts since elementary school when he would spend time cooking with his grandfather. He loves to cook all foods, Asian, Latina American, Southern and Southwestern American. Christopher says “I am a well versed rounds chef. I can do tradition Bakery baking as well as High end Pastries. I really enjoy butchery and meat fabrication ( primals to sausage). But really find myself at home in an eclectic Euro/American line.”
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