We're having this crazy heat wave, it was in the mid-80s today. Given the summer we had I really shouldn't complain, but damn.
A few weeks ago it was gloriously chilly; I love autumn weather. (Not so much the leaves, anyone wanna help come rake?)
Yesterday I was chatting with Lisa on Twitter on good uses for pumpkin, especially something savory. Hello, one of my very most favorite foods ever. I start making it when there's a chill in the air, and continue until the tulips are up.
In our house this is known as "pumpkin pasta" and I'm making it as soon as Aaron gets home from Canada. (In related news, I'm willing to start renting my children out to anyone who'd like a good shot of non-hormonal birth control.)
1 pound sweet italian pork sausage (sometimes I use ground dark turkey and add a goodly amount of Baron's Specialty Foods Italian Blend - I get it at Whole Foods at the meat counter and cannot find it online; it's what my local Whole Foods uses to make their sausages in-house) (if you recall, Emery is allergic to pork, gah)
olive oil, depending on if you are using pork vs turkey vs skipping meat all together
one medium onion, small diced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, if vegetarian
4 - 6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
1 cup white wine (optional)
2 - 3 cups chicken or light-colored veggie stock
1 cup canned pumpkin (about two thirds of a standard can)
sprinkle of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup half'n'half
1 pound of a tube-y pasta, cooked just under al dente (we are gluten-free, this is our favorite)
parmesan, for serving
In a large skillet, add a small bit of oil (teaspoon if cooking pork; tablespoon if cooking turkey) and cook sausage on medium heat until done; remove from pan using a slotted spoon, set aside momentarily.
Drain any excess oil out of the pan, you want a little oil to coat the bottom; saute onions on medium heat (if you are making it vegetarian, use a teaspoon or two of oil and start your onions with a sprinkle of fennel and salt - gives you the sausage flavor without having the meat!). Cook onions until translucent, add garlic and a sprinkle of pepper and cook for just a moment. Pour the cup of white wine (or stock, if not using wine) into the pan and reduce the liquid to half.
Rub sage into skillet, add pumpkin and whisk as smoothly as possible. Add two-ish cups of stock and bring to a simmer; add sausage back in and continue on a low simmer for five to ten minutes stirring occasionally but never walking too far away.
Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg in, turn off heat and slowly add half'n'half until the sauce looks the color of pumpkin pie. Taste for salt and pepper, toss pasta in and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
We like to have this with a big green salad, and a healthy sprinkle of parmesan on mine please.
The boys like their sausage and pasta plain, partially because they cannot have dairy and partially because they are not fans of anything sauce-y.
Unless you count ketchup as sauce-y.