(Make It Vegan!) Pasta With Pumpkin Sage Sauce
I can’t believe that I haven’t published this recipe on my blog yet, because it has always been one of my very favorite ones.
When I lived in California over a decade ago, I incredibly found the original recipe for this pasta in an ad in a Bon Appetit magazine. I brought that magazine home to Toronto with me, but after several moves, I lost it and haven’t seen it in years.
This unfortunate situation has forced me to develop my own version of this amazing pumpkin sage pasta sauce. There are some online but none are the original version and truthfully, I trust my own memory and recipe development abilities more than something I can find on Pinterest. I’ve undoubtedly changed the recipe somewhat and I do wish I knew the name of the chef who originally made it, but oh well! I think I’ve done a great job regardless.
I remember making this pasta for a crowd in my tiny apartment in Redwood City, California, but I had cracked open a fresh coconut right before starting cooking and had sliced my hand open. Luckily one of my guests was a doctor, who bandaged my hand so I could chop the garlic for this recipe without killing myself (or making the whole batch into a biohazard). It was actually a really fun night and everyone loved this dish. Sigh, the things we remember when we cook. Fun times, fun times.
You can totally make this into a vegan recipe by omitting the sausage and using vegetable stock. I was going to make it vegan actually, but I decided to leave the pork in this one.
My favorite pasta to use with this recipe is orecchiette, because the cup-shaped pasta holds the sauce perfectly.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
500g mild or hot pork sausage, out of the casing
900 ml chicken stock
1.5 cups white wine
2 cups pureed pumpkin
3T olive oil
2.5 T chopped fresh sage
1 pound of orecchiette or other pasta shape
In a very large heavy pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook until well-browned.
Add the sage and sausage and cook until the sausage is browned, breaking it into small pieces.
Remove the sausage, onions and garlic from the pan and reduce the heat to medium. If the sausage left a lot of grease in the pan, remove all of it except for around 1T. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan while simmering. After around 5 minutes, add the pumpkin and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer, add the sausage, onions, and garlic back into the pan, and simmer for around 30-40 minutes or until the sauce is at the desired thickness. Remember that the longer it cooks, the thicker the sauce becomes, and the better it’s going to taste.
Boil the pasta while the sauce is simmering, then drain and toss with the finished sauce.
Just a few hints:
I used mild sausage (because of my kids) but if you like things spicy, you can use the spicy sausage or add red pepper flakes either to the sauce while it’s simmering, or when the pasta is served.
Also, the sausage I used had no fennel seed in it. If this is the case with yours too, I highly recommend adding 1/2t whole fennel seed to the mix while you’re cooking the sausage. It gives the sauce an awesome flavor.