I made this pasta last fall. And I think it will be a recipe that I will make every fall from now on. It calls for canned pumpkin puree, but you could even roast your own! Bobby Flay says he can't tell the difference, so you can use that as an excuse for using canned. That is what I did. Make sure to get the regular pumpkin puree and not that the pumpkin pie filling.
The sage, sausage, pumpkin combo is awesome. This sauce is naturally thick and creamy from the pumpkin puree, so feel free to leave the cream out or even use milk instead. I just used milk.
I think this would still be good without the sausage to make it vegetarian. I would suggest replacing the sausage with something that has some contrast to the creamy sauce. Hmmm....maybe bacon? JK. I don't know a good replacement, so let me know if you do. Oooh, maybe some roasted red pepper? Grilled asparagus?
Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta
by Rachael Ray
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment
Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.
(Servings: 4, Prep time: none, Cook time: 45 minutes, Difficulty: Easy)