Living in Las Vegas, it takes a bit longer to feel the change of seasons. Today, I finally felt a nice autumn breeze and it inspired me to accompany my taste buds with a similar feeling. :) I adore fall vegetables like pumpkin, butternut squash and figs. I've seen Paula (Deen) and Rachel (Ray) make similar recipes on Food Network, but here's my version of a pumpkin-esque pasta dish.
Penne with Creamy Pumpkin, Sage & Sausage
For a richer variation, use pork sausage and add 1/2 cup heavy cream when adding sausage back in sauce. I had 1% milk on hand and added a few tablespoons for extra flavor. If you're watching calories, leave dairy out. If you like a thinner sauce, add more stock. I served this pasta with a side of roasted brussel sprouts, recipe and photo below.
1 lb turkey or chicken sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
4-6 fresh sage leaves, chiffonade
1 cup chicken stock
1 (15 oz) canned pumpkin
1/2 lb whole wheat or whole grain penne
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated parm, plus more for garnish
Cook pasta until al dente and set aside. Saute sausage over med-high heat until browned and remove from pan leaving a couple tablespoons of rendered fat. (If not enough, add some EVOO) Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and cook until tender. Add chicken stock, pumpkin, sage, salt, nutmeg and stir to combine. Add bay leaf and bring to boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in sausage and continue simmering until sauce is warmed through. Toss with penne and parm. Season to taste.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 lb brussel sprouts, bottoms trimmed and cut in half
2 tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp garlic powder
S&P to taste
Freshly grated parm
Preheat oven to 500F degrees. Toss brussel sprouts with EVOO, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast until just tender and charred on the outside, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parm and bake until cheese is melted. Freshly squeezed lemon juice would also be a great addition, I just didn't have any on hand.