Trying to avoid the pumpkin cliche during fall has itself turned into a cliche. And as much as I avoid the pumpkin-spice-latte fan club like the plague, there is something so cozy, so festive, so undeniably comforting about enjoying the flavor of pumpkin when the leaves begin to turn and the air grows cool (or when you watch from the blazing subtropics of southern Florida as these natural phenomena take place on your friends' social media ).
Here's one recipe I turn to for a comfort food with an autumnal twist: Pumpkin Sausage Penne. It's pasta coated in a pumpkin cream sauce, with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, but still firmly grounded in the savory by sautéed onion, garlic, and a bay leaf. It's all rounded off with satisfying chunks of Italian sausage and a heap of freshly grated parmesan.
pumpkin sausage penne
1 pound of penne pasta
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
salt and pepper, for seasoning
parmesan cheese, for serving
Set a pot of salted water on to boil and cook the penne according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, begin to prepare the other elements of the dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up into chunks with a spoon. Set the sausage aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Return the pot to the stove and pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil. When hot, add the onion and garlic, stirring and cooking until the onions are translucent and begin to brown.
Add the bay leaf and wine to the pot and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the pumpkin puree and chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the heavy cream, sausage, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Reduce heat, season with salt and pepper, and then let the mixture simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta to the dutch oven, stirring until combined. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Food Network.