Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Pasta Night with Pumpkin Sage Sauce

Well, it's that time of year again...Pasta Party Time!  Every year, I host a quick and easy dinner before trick-or-treating by hosting a pasta bar.  What's great about the pasta bar on Halloween is:
  1. You can make all the sauces ahead of time and just re-heat and boil your noodles in a flash on Halloween night.
  2. You aren't a slave to your kitchen while being distracted by door-ringing trick-or-treaters.
  3. Everyone loves pasta.
  4. Your guests can use a selection of noodles, sauces, meatballs and toppings to create their own personalized dish.
This year I'm opting for the following pasta bar options:

Wheat-enriched thin spaghetti
Harvest-colored pumpkin shaped noodles
Mushroom-stuffed tortillis

Fresh basil
Black olives

Elk meatballs
Turkey meatballs

Traditional marinara sauce 
Sage Pumpkin Sauce

Now, for those of you who are just reading this blog, let me tell you...THE SAGE PUMPKIN SAUCE IS TO DIE FOR!  It's so easy to make (20-30 mins) and is a great Autumn twist on the classic.'s the recipe.  Promise to try it!

Pumpkin Sage Sauce
 Pumpkin Sage Sausage Sauce


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound sage-flavored sausage (Johnsonville)
4 TBSP fresh garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, diced
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound pasta
Fresh Romano/Parmigiano blend

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Remove sausage from pan (drain if desired). Add to pan the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

PS - The side of meatballs were a real hit!  I highly recommend making your meatballs from turkey, as they absorb the taste of the sauce better than red meat.  Plus, they are so much healthier and the leftovers freeze well.

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