pasta with pumpkin, sausage and sage

Monday, October 31, 2011

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N ! ! !

I went to an audition on Friday and while walking on the studio lot among 99.99% of people not in costume, I spotted a random middle-aged female Peter Pan. With a straight face. That is precisely why I love me some Halloween.

In addition to that, I also love love love:

candy corn
choosing pumpkins
carving pumpkins
bite-size candy bars
seeing people driving in costume
seeing people pumping gas in costume

What is better than that?

Another thing I love? Orange, orange, orange! Orange is my most favorite color and that may be the number one reason I love this season so darn much. I am compelled to cook orange food. In the past week I've made a crazy good carrot soup (coming your way eventually), a gummy pumpkin cake (not coming your way ever) and this delicious fail-safe pasta that is one of my Autumn standbys (coming your way this very moment!)  

Once I made this pasta while my friend Nic was visiting and she (no joke) proceeded to eat leftovers three times a day for the duration of her stay. And then took some with her to eat on the plane. No joke.

I'm sure if she could figure out a way to fashion a pumpkin/sausage/pasta Halloween costume she'd be all over it. Then she could become the dish itself.

It comes together pretty fast but tastes like it's been cooking all day--that's because of multiple layers of flavor from the onions, garlic, white wine, sage and pumpkin. Oh, yeah--and the sausage. Finishing with a swirl of decadent cream doesn't hurt either.

Check out that bubbling goodness........................................!

And for an accompaniment: how great is this dangerous Halloween wine selection? BTW--scary good.

Pasta with Pumpkin, Sausage and Sage
adapted from Rachael Ray
serves 6

2T extra virgin olive oil
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (out of the casings)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4-6 sprigs fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (about 2 heaping T)
1 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound penne or similar (I used some fancy imported tube-y/twisty one I can't pronounce)
Parmesan cheese, grated for serving

In a large, deep skillet or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add 1T olive oil and brown the sausage. Break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and set aside. Add the remaining 1T oil to the pan and then the onion and garlic. Saute 5-7 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add the bay leaf, sage and wine to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce the wine by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir the sauce until it comes to a gentle bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat and stir in cream. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer mixture 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Cook pasta according to directions on the package, leaving it undercooked by 2 minutes. Return the drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in and pour the sauce over. Stir and cook together over low heat for a couple minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente. Check for salt. Serve with heaps of Parmesan cheese and sage sprigs if you're feeling fancy.

Hope you have a day filled with candy corn and that you spy people doing mundane things in ridiculous costumes. That is my dream for you. And myself.

Happy Halloween!


  1. I love Pumpkin Pasta. I had the most amazing Pumpkin Pasta in Florence, Italy about 12 years ago that I haven't been able to recreate. Your pasta might just be my ticket! :)

  2. Yay! Pumpkin pasta rules!

  3. ok, i am lately obsessed with pumpkin puree. i am gonna try this bad boy! thanks :)


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