Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin

 Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin

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So, remember how I bought all that squash a couple of weeks ago? Like 20 pounds of pumpkins and other various edible squash varieties?

… I bought even more since I wrote that post. I HAVE A PROBLEM. It’s called I-can’t-resist-a-good-produce-sale-itis. There is no known cure.

So yes, Squashapalooza is really becoming a trend here in our house. Methinks Mr. Kitchenette is not pleased, but… I cook the food so he can shut it. Besides, I have grand plans for all of our little squashes. (Do you like how I talk about them like they are my babies? That’s because I have no children, but I have to project on something.)

I bought this giant pumpkin as part of my shopping spree. Do you remember it?

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 Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin

Squash. I haz it.

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I mean, this sucker is BIG. I’m thinking at least 10 pounds (although I’m historically terrible at guessing weights and volumes… but it’s like, really big and stuff, so go with it.) I really just bought it for the seeds. I haven’t had pumpkin seeds in years, and I wanted to give them a try. But, in case you know me in real life (some of you do), you may not have noticed that I’m turning into somewhat of a hippie. Blame in on the proximity to Boulder. And I couldn’t trash the rest of the pumpkin just to get at the seeds! That’s too much waste. So I did some research on using pumpkin “flesh.”

(Note: what else does one call the insides of the pumpkin? I called it the “flesh” and Mr. Kitchenette made fun of me; he said I sounded like Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. What-EVER, dude.)

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Basically, I found a lot of recipes that called for pumpkin puree from “sugar pumpkins,” but none that said “oh yeah, you can use the old Jack-o-lantern pumpkin that you didn’t carve this year.” So I called my mother – whom I always call for advice, she’s my oracle – to ask her whether I could use a regular ol’ pumpkin instead of a sugar pumpkin. This is how it went down:

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Me:          So, I bought this massive pumpkin but I don’t know what to do with it. Can I even cook with this thing?

Mom:      Sure, why not?

Me:          All the recipes I’ve looked at call for a sugar pumpkin. I’m wondering whether I should just use a sugar pumpkin for the recipe I’m looking at making.

Mom:      (Insert sassy Southern voice here) Well, that’s just not how we do it here in the South. When I was little, we used to just cut it in half, oil the pumpkin, and cook it in the oven cut-side-down.

Me:          Hmmm… you’re still alive, so it can’t be that bad for you.

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Well, I decided to try it. After all, I did buy my pumpkin at the grocery store. It’s not like I bought it at a massive pumpkin patch… plus, I would only eat a little bit, so that I could make sure I didn’t die as a result of eating pesticide-laden pumpkins.

I found this recipe for pasta with pumpkin, and I decided (mostly from the picture – I love your pics, Jen) that I had to try it with my massive amounts of pumpkin flesh. I’m not going to lie; I thought the recipe sounded a little weird. It sounded almost… sweet. And pasta using cinnamon? Odd. But I have faith in Jen, so I decided to try it anyways. I have a rule of trying new recipes the exact way that they’re written the first time; no modifications. After all, how can you tell what it’s supposed to taste like if you make a million changes to the recipe?

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Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin - Roasted Pumpkin

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So I made this with the exact proportions called for, except that I used bulk breakfast sausage from the grocer, as I couldn’t find maple sausage this week. I suppose I could have added a teaspoon of maple syrup, but I’m glad I didn’t add it, as I think it might have overwhelmed the taste of the pumpkin. The pumpkin puree I ended up with was exceedingly delicate, not at all like what I thought it would taste like. I guess I thought it would be sweeter rather than savory, but it is a squash. The resulting pasta dish was light, delicate, not at all what I expected. First you taste the sausage, and the sage and spices in the sausage, and then you taste the pasta, and there is this all-permeating taste of squash, with just the tiniest hint of sweetness.

To roast your own pumpkin, cut it in half horizontally, and oil the cut side of the pumpkin. Cook the pumpkin cut-side-down on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for at least 1 hour, until the flesh is cooked through. Scoop out the flesh and puree using a food mill. My pumpkin yielded about 10 cups of pumpkin puree. The puree was quite watery, so I’ve set up the puree in a sieve in the fridge, so that it will drain some and I’ll end up with something more concentrated. I’m going to freeze the rest of the puree in 1-cup increments, but I’m not sure what to do with the rest yet. I’m on the hunt for new recipes to try, of course, so I’m excited because there are a lot of possibilities.  

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Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

Serves 4

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Ingredients:
10 ounces farfalle
1 pound pork sausage
1 large onion, diced to into medium-large pieces
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup white wine
1 cup pumpkin puree
fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano

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Directions:
Cook the farfalle according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the sausage, breaking it into bite-size crumbles as it cooks. Once the sausage is caramelized around the edges, add the onion, sage, and cinnamon, and saute until the onions are soft. Season with salt to taste.

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Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin - Adding the Pumpkin Puree

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Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine to the pan, and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes, until a sauce forms from the pumpkin and wine.

Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan, and stir to coat. Transfer to serving dish, and top with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano.

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Now Playing in the Kitchenette: The Temper Trap / Sweet Disposition

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6 thoughts on “Pasta with Sausage and Pumpkin

  1. Pingback: Drowning My Sorrows in Buffalo Chili « The Kitchenette

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