A perfect fall dish, this pumpkin pasta is a great way to use pumpkin puree for a savory dish. Seasoned with sage and with added Italian sausage and spinach this quick and easy dish will become a household favorite.
While I am a sucker for a pumpkin pie there are times that I want a savory pumpkin recipe. I love this recipe because the sauce is normally done by the time the pasta is done cooking. The way this dish came about was actually me making butternut squash soup and there was only a little bit left so I put it over pasta. After that I started playing around with the recipe until I got something I liked and pumpkin was a better option.
In this recipe
There a quite a few ingredients in this recipe here are a few of the major players.
- Pumpkin puree: I prefer to use roasted pumpkin puree but canned puree will work as well.
- Heavy cream: This will create a rich sauce however to help reduce the amount of fat you can switch to milk.
- White wine: You will want to make sure that it is a dry wine. However if you don’t want to cook with wine then chicken broth is a great alternative.
- Italian sausage: This can be either spicy or mild. You can use sliced Italian sausage depending on the pasta choice. Omit for a vegetarian option.
- Pasta: I use fettuccini however you can use any pasta that can hold sauce well. This can even be a shell or any pasta with a hole in it.
Sauté the sausage
One of the things that you will want to do is cook the sausage first. Normally when making a sauce you would cook the meat during the process. However since the pumpkin is already cooked it would take longer to properly heat the sausage thoroughly. Once the sausage has been cooked set it aside to cook the shallots and garlic in the drippings from the sausage and oil. By using the drippings you will keep all of the good flavors in the sauce. If you are not using the sausage you will want to add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.
Making the pumpkin sauce
Once the garlic has softened you will add the butter, wine, cream, and pumpkin. You want to make sure that the sauce just comes to a boil for only a minute or so before removing it from the heat. You don’t want all of the liquid to evaporate as this will result in a sauce that won’t coat the pasta well. Once it has come to a boil and it has been removed from the heat the residual heat from the pan will wilt the spinach and melt the cheese. If you would like a more intense sage flavor then add it to the pan with the garlic and shallots.
Pasta water is your friend
One of the best things about using dried pasta is the pasta water. Right before you drain the pasta you should take out at least a cup of water from pot and set it aside. This is a great trick for if you overcook the sauce. When dried pasta is cooked in the water it releases a lot of starch. This starch helps keep the texture of the sauce while thinning it out. This is a helpful trick for any sauce not just this one. You may not use the water when cooking but it is a great habit to get into when making pasta. That way if you need it you have it and you will be able to save your sauce.
Looking for other fall recipes?
Pumpkin Pasta with Sage and Spinach
- Large saucepan or pot
- ½ pound pasta
- ½ pound Italian sausage ground
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 2 cloves garlic fresh, minced
- ¼ cup shallots finely chopped
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup white wine or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- 1½ cups spinach heaping, chopped
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded, additional for finishing if desired
- ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat a large saucepan or pot of water to bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and keep warm if the pasta cooks before the sauce is done.
- While the water is heating in a large skillet over medium high heat cook the Italian sausage. Once it has cooked remove it from the pan with the slotted spoon and place in a bowl and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Cook until the shallots turn translucent. Add the wine, or chicken broth, cream, butter, and pumpkin puree. Bring to a boil an add the spinach, salt, pepper and sage. Once the spinach has wilted remove from the heat stir in the Italian sausage and parmesan cheese.
- Add the pasta and gently toss to coat the pasta and top with any additional parmesan cheese.