Mid to late September always presents a mental battle for me. I struggle deciding when to put out fall decor, when to switch to pumpkin spice candles (and everything else), and when to start making cozy fall recipes. It's a struggle because in my neck of the woods the temperature is literally in the 90's all throughout the month of September. Oh the joys of living in the south. We probably won't see leaves fall until November. I know that sounds crazy to some but it's just how things are around here.
Now that does not stop retailers from putting out Christmas decor in July. Nevertheless, I always find myself at the butt of my husband's jokes every year because I get so excited for fall and start putting out fall decor when there are still heat advisory notices in our area. That's exactly where I find myself this year and he's just going to have to get over it.
This pumpkin pasta dish is what I call one of my "transition dishes". It's not full on cool weather comfort food, but it's gearing us up for all the fall fun to come! This dish is super easy to put together and is packed with flavor. The rich, mildly sweet flavor from the pumpkin gives this dish such depth. The sage also adds wonderful flavor to the dish. I definitely recommend fresh sage leaves over dried for this dish, but the dried will certainly work if that's all you have available. Serve this up with a crisp salad while it's still warm out and your favorite crusty bread!
Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 10 oz package of Morningstar Chorizo Crumbles or 1 lb. of sausage of choice
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf fresh or dried
- 4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves cut into thin slices
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock can or carton
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups chopped spinach leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 1 pound pasta shells cooked to al dente and drained
- Shaved Parmesan
- Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, add sausage and break up with spoon. Cook for a few minutes until warmed if using veggie chorizo crumbles and until lightly browned if using sausage. Add the garlic and onion. Sauté with sausage 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
- Add bay leaf, sage, chicken stock, and pumpkin to the pan, stirring sauce until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat, and stir in cream and spinach. Season the sauce with nutmeg, red pepper, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
- Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and more sliced sage leaves and spinach.