October is my favorite month by far. I love sitting outside on a cool night with a fire pit and have my clothes smell like woody smoke. I love freaking myself out by watching random horror movies which can always be found somewhere on cable all month. I love putting an extra blanket on my bed and crawling under the covers on a chilly Sunday to watch football. And I love the scent that comes wafting to my nose the first time I break open a can of pumpkin for the season. Since I’ve had pumpkin in pasta before and liked it, I figured this recipe for Baked Pumpkin and Sausage Penne would be right up my alley. Pasta, yum. Pumpkin, yum. Sausage, yum.
Fresh sage is added to browned spicy sausage and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, canned pumpkin is mixed with milk, egg yolks, cream cheese and spices to create a rich sauce. The pumpkin mixture is added to the sausage and pasta and poured into a baking dish where it’s topped with panko crumbs and more cheese. Fresh sage, which mixes so perfectly with pumpkin, adds an earthy, herby flavor boost and the panko topping creates a crispy topping. As much as I love pumpkin, this was a little bit too pumpkin for me. I think a little less pumpkin and maybe the addition of ricotta might make for a better dish. I used parmesan cheese instead of Asiago cheese and used less than half of what the recipe called for so maybe that would have made a difference. This makes 8 big portions so by the last bite, I’d had enough. Next time I’m craving pumpkin and pasta, I think I’ll make Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells instead.
In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat. Cook until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Stir in sage and cook 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon; set aside. Pour off and discard drippings.
In the same skillet, whisk pumpkin, milk, cream cheese, egg yolks, 1 cup of the Asiago, the nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir over medium heat until cheeses are melted.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water 1 minute less than package directions, about 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to pot. Stir in sausage, pumpkin mixture and reserved pasta water. Mix well to combine.
Transfer to a 13 x 9 x 2-inch dish and top with panko and remaining 2 tbsp Asiago.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Turn broiler on HIGH and broil 1 to 2 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
- Whole-wheat penne
- Grated parmesan cheese
Overall Rating: So-So
Source: Family Circle Magazine