And here we are, back at the grind. I hope all of my U.S. readers had a lovely holiday – I know I did. It was hard to come back to work this morning; we did a whole lot of nothing over the extended weekend, aside from cooking our Thanksgiving meal, which was delicious, and decorating the house for the season. If you’re a long-time reader here, you know that entails the placing and positioning of a great many Santas and snowmen, as well as the decorating of two trees. We had The G Man over to help, and it was so much fun – he’d never seen Meema’s house decorated for the holiday season (at least that he can remember) and was just enchanted with the “family” tree, especially the Hallmark ornaments that play music and light up. Needless to say, most of the “cool” ornaments occupy the bottom third of the tree.
For our holiday decorating party, I made pizza for dinner (I’m attempting to perfect a gluten-free crust; it’s getting better), and had some sweet Italian sausage left over from that. I also had a container of leftover roasted pumpkin pureé in the fridge, and began to wonder if there was anything I could do with those two particular ingredients besides making Pumpkin Sausage Soup. A quick Google search gave me the answer – besides soup, pumpkin and Italian sausage are apparently quite good in pasta dishes.
Like Pumpkin Sausage Soup, there are a great many recipes on the internet for pumpkin-sausage pasta dishes, and no two are quite the same. I perused a great many before deciding that since I wouldn’t be using “real” pasta, I might as well just make my own up. So I did, and the results were very, very good. This was surprisingly – to me, anyway – delicious. Beloved and I both had seconds (which is rare for me) and we’ll polish off the leftovers for lunch today.
The amount of thyme may seem excessive, but don’t skimp on it – I just loved the fresh flavor it gave the dish; it complimented both the pumpkin and the sausage very well. If you’d like to use a more conventional pasta in this dish, gluten-free or traditional, most recipes call for a large, sturdy shape, such as farfalle, rotini or penne. And, as always, if dairy doesn’t bother you, feel free to use heavy cream instead of coconut milk. My non-pork-eating readers can use a turkey-based Italian sausage.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds in the center. Add enough water to cover the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold both halves of the squash, and place the squash in the pan, cut side down. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or just until tender enough to be pierced with the tines of a fork. Take care not to overcook.
- While the squash is roasting, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon, until cooked through and browned. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
- Drain the fat from the skillet and add the olive oil; reduce the heat to medium low and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the pumpkin, chicken stock, coconut milk, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the thyme to the skillet. Whisk until well-combined and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes .
- Once the squash is roasted, scrape out the flesh with a fork to make long strands, handling the hot squash with care. Add the squash and reserved sausage to the sauce in the pan and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sausage is heated through.
- Divide between 6 wide, shallow bowls and garnish with the remaining thyme and Parmesan cheese, if using. Serve immediately.
- Nutrition (per serving): 424 calories, 33g total fat, 70mg cholesterol, 1199.5mg sodium, 635.2mg potassium, 18.9g carbohydrates, 4.2g fiber, 7.1g sugar, 15g protein