October 04, 2019

Pumpkin, Fennel and Italian Sausage Pasta



Ingredients:

1 bulb fennel, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, diced
1 lb hot Italian sausage (casings removed if necessary)
1/4 cup (loose) chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 cup roasted pumpkin*
12 oz cooked small pasta (I used creste di galli)
1/2-2/3 cup cooked pasta water
salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

In a large skillet, saute the fennel, onion, and pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the sausage and parsley and saute until the sausage is nearly cooked though. Stir in the spices and pumpkin and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is warmed through and the sausage is fully cooked. Stir in some pasta water to loosen up the mixture. Stir in pasta. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and additional parsley if desired.


Yield: 6 meal-sized portions



*from 1 sugar pumpkin, halved and roasted for 45 minutes at 350.
My thoughts:
My volunteer pumpkin plant produced four pumpkins that didn't get nibbled on when we were on vacation. I made an Afghan-inspired dish with the first pumpkin that grew and when I was roasting that pumpkin, I roasted a second to speed up the next recipe. Then I was left with a bunch of pumpkin pulp. Loathing pumpkin pie and not being much of a muffin fan I really didn't know what to do with it. So many savory recipes called for cubed pumpkin but all I had was already pretty smooth.

We hadn't had pasta in a long time so I looked up pumpkin pasta recipes. So many called for a ton of heavy cream and that seemed so heavy and unappealing. Why not just thin the pumpkin out with a little starchy pasta water? It surprisingly (?)  worked! It really did turn the pumpkin into a sort of sauce that coated the pasta. The pumpkin melded so well with the sweet fennel and the hot Italian sausage I bought from the local Italian store. I love it when experiments really work!  The meal was super flavorful and filling without being over the top rich. No heavy cream needed!

Note: the leftovers reheated really well in the oven, covered in foil, for about 30 minutes at 350.


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