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Monday, October 23, 2017

Pumpkin-sausage pasta (using leftover canned pumpkin)

In answer to a request in the comments from Friday, here is something I do with leftover cooked or canned pumpkin. Since the amounts of ingredients varies with the number of servings, I've given estimates of what I use. You can adjust to your own meal prep situation.

Pumpkin-sausage pasta

cooked pasta, according to package directions, enough to serve family, cook pasta, drain and set aside

large Italian sausage links, about 1/4 lb each, 1 for every 2 servings (I use 2 or 3 links for 5 adult servings)
chopped onion, about 1/2 large onion for 4-5 servings
minced garlic, garlic powder or granules, equivalent to 2 cloves of garlic for 4-5 servings
chicken stock, 2 cups for 4-5 servings
pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh cooked, about 1 cup
sage, fresh minced or dried crumbled, equivalent of about 1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) dried, rubbed sage
cream or milk, 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup
dash nutmeg
salt, to taste
red pepper flakes, pinch
Parmesan shavings, for garnish, as much as desired

Remove sausage from casing, brown and crumble in a skillet. Set sausage aside. Pour off all but 1-2 teaspoons fat from the sausage. Saute the onion in the sausage fat. Add the garlic when the onion is translucent. Cook until onion is barely golden.

Add the pumpkin, chicken stock and sage. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the browned sausage and heat through. Toss in the cooked pasta, along with cream or milk, cheese and nutmeg. Taste and add salt and red pepper flakes. Garnish with additional Parmesan.

I sometimes use turkey Italian sausage, in which case there is little residual fat in the pan. For turkey Italian sausage, use about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to saute the onion.

This is a less-meat dish. you can certainly use more Italian sausage, if you have heavy-duty carnivores in your house. you can also omit the sausage for a vegetarian dish. I don't think this would be very tasty as a vegan dish. It seems to need the flavors of the sausage and/or the Parmesan. I go easy on the cream/milk. But if you like a creamier dish, use as much as 1/2 cup of cream/milk.

For buying Italian sausage, the butcher counter in our local Fred Meyer carries pork Italian sausage links to be purchased one at a time. When I made sausage pizza a couple of weeks ago, I bought just one sausage, to brown and crumble. It may not be the cheapest per pound way to go, for Italian sausage, but if you only want 1 or 2, it is simple to just buy what you need. I also buy the turkey version, in tray packs by Jennie-O. The turkey Italian sausage links in those packs go to mark down frequently, as they're sold refrigerated (not frozen, though you can freeze them once home). When I find them on markdown I will buy several packages, split into packets of 2 or 3 links, and freeze.

Very hearty and warming for a fall evening. I serve this with a green salad or green veggies, and a baguette, if we're extra hungry.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Belinda,
      It's a delicious alternative to red or white pasta sauce, I think. And it sneaks in some orange veggies. Have a great day, Belinda!

  2. A great way to use up extra pumpkin. Sounds tasty.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I find that I can only eat so many pumpkin pies or breads, these days. So, yes, when I buy those larger cans of pumpkin (enough for 2 pies), I like to use half for a pie or bread and half for a savory dish. Hope you're having a good day, live and learn!

    2. I still haven't tried L&L's pumpkin peanut butter soup, which I always thought would be a good use of leftover pumpkin. Your recipe sounds good, too, Lili. Sometimes I just add a spoonful (plus spices) to my oatmeal.

  3. Hi Lili,

    We discovered this pasta sauce using pumpkin (or in our case butternut squash!) about 2 years ago. Recently, someone told us about Trader Joe's creamy pumpkin pasta sauce which is the same as this recipe. I made a copycat version of TJ pasta sauce and hubby likes to eat it like a pumpkin soup. He said it reminds him of creamy tomato soup. He really likes it. I froze two containers full for a future meal.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'll have to try making pumpkin soup in way similar to this pasta sauce. It sounds yummy. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Hi, Lili--

    Like Alice, I have also made a version of this sauce, and find it a delightful change of pace. I actually made it just a week ago (great minds think alike), with andouille sausages, and saved to leftovers in the freezer for a DS's visit in a month or so. (He loves spicy food!) Take care! Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      Yum, andouille sausage would be delicious in this sauce, too! My guess is that your son loves that version. Have a wonderful day, Sara!

  5. Thanks for this, Lili!! It sounds absolutely delicious, and I love that it's made from pantry ingredients! I have all of those on hand! :D Can't wait to try it.


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