As Laura said a few weeks ago, there’s always room for more pumpkin. Especially when you’ve chosen to spend your life with a person who brings up pumpkin pie all year round, who finds a way to work pumpkin puree into cocktails, and for whom you have a secret Pinterest board called “for H” made up almost entirely of pumpkin recipes. I know that as a culture we’ve reached a mega pumpkin overload, what with our lattes and Cheerios and even potato chips that now come in pumpkin spice flavor. But let’s not let that overkill (seriously, chips. why???) distract us from what a fantastic ingredient real pumpkin really is, in both sweet and savory dishes. My most recent reminder? Pumpkin pasta sauce.
Given what a fan my husband is of all things pumpkin, I do keep my eye out for likely looking recipes all year long. I found this one last fall, and it instantly appealed. I love a butternut squash ravioli, so pumpkin in pasta seemed like an easy win. It’s a really beautifully simple recipe, requiring only a few ingredients, and makes for a fantastically quick and tasty fall dinner. I took the advice of a note in the original post and added sausage, which made it an even easier sell in my house.
Though I’m usually a stickler for following recipes to the letter, I’d recommend giving yourself room to play with this one. The suggested spice amounts–of cayenne, chili powder, and nutmeg–are pretty minimal, and each time I’ve made the sauce I’ve found myself adding in some extra shakes and gratings (I add some extra garlic, too, because that’s just my standard practice). The end result is a nicely subtly pumpkin taste, with hints of spice and sweetness. A lovely way to celebrate a favorite flavor and season, without having to resort to pumpkin spice chips.
pasta with creamy pumpkin sauce
slightly adapted from Budget Bytes
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp heavy cream
half a pound(ish) of your favorite sausage–I’ve used both hot and sweet Italian, and a yummy fennel blend my grocery store carries
8 oz pasta
Saute sausage in a large skillet, breaking up into little pieces with a wooden spoon. If a lot of yummy bits start sticking to the bottom of the skillet as the sausage browns, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine, sweet vermouth, or chicken stock. Set the cooked sausage aside and lightly wipe out the skillet.
Put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. While waiting for the water to boil, start your sauce:
Sauté the minced garlic in butter over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
Add the pumpkin purée and chicken broth to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the nutmeg, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the spices and let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Don’t forget to cook your pasta!
Once the pasta is finished cooking and is draining in a colander, add the cream to the skillet and stir it into the pumpkin sauce. Add the drained pasta and cooked sausage to the sauce and stir to the combined. Take a test bite, and add more salt or any of the other spices as needed.