Pasta with Sage Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Pumpkins generally mean dessert in my mind. Its not like I’ve never made savory dishes that highlight pumpkin before, but still, that association is a stubborn one in my head. So I thought I’d try once again to shake it off by making a pumpkin sauce. In this case, a sage pumpkin cream sauce to go with pasta, sausage, and bacon.

This seemed like a good idea, but I had no idea how good it was going to be. For how simple this seemed, the flavor really blew me away–this was awesome. The sauce was incredibly thick–bordering on macaroni & cheese style thick (granted, I did enrich it with a healthy portion of Parmigiano Reggiano)–and the flavor was surprisingly rich. If I had to describe it in just one word, I would say “autumn” (which means a lot in hot Florida at this time of year–I need all the reminders I can get). Despite the presence of other strong flavors (like sage), the pumpkin was still very clearly center stage, its flavor only intensified by the other components in the sauce.

Also, being very much a where’s-the-beef kind of guy, I thought this dish demanded meat, so I worked in both bacon and sausage, and the smoky flavors of both provided a great foil for the creamy sauce. The vivid color of the sauce also was more than I’d hoped for. If you were on the fence about cooking anything with pumpkin this season, I’ll do my part in trying to sway you by recommending you try this dish. Its easy and I really think you’ll enjoy it.

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 4-5 strips of bacon
  • 2-3 hot italian sausage
  • 1 leek
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1.75 cup pumpkin puree
  • ~20 leaves sage
  • ~1/4 lb Parmigiano Reggiano
  • salt
  • pepper

The first thing you’ll need is pumpkin puree. If you’re using canned, open the can, but if you’re going fresh (the only way I do it–its easy!), just be sure to give yourself some time. Simply chop it in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy parts, bake at 350°F open side down in a small bit of water, and after anywhere between 45-90 minutes, the pumpkin should be done cooking. Simply scoop out the flesh, puree it in the food processor, and let it sit in the strainer for an hour or so–you’ll be surprised how much water comes off. After this, you’re good to go! I made the puree the night before to keep life simple.

Now, its time to get started on the sauce. Begin by sautéing the bacon, cooking until done. While you wait for that to finish, mince up the pale part of the leek, garlic cloves, and sage leaves.

Set the bacon aside and keep about a tablespoon or two of the bacon grease in the pan, reserving the rest for future use. Sauté the leek in the bacon grease for about 6 minutes and then add the garlic for another minute.

Deglaze the pan with the pumpkin puree, scraping any browned bits up. Add in the sage and let this simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Now that things are a bit softer, since I can be a bit type A about things, I pureed this in the food processor and put this smoother mix back in the pan. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste (under salt it a bit though–you’ll add in Parmigiano Reggiano later which will bring some of its own salt). Allow this to simmer a bit shy of medium heat for another 10 minutes.

During all of this, cook your pasta.

Also, remove the sausage from its casings, cut into bite-sized chunks, and cook them through in a pan using a bit of bacon grease from earlier. Once the sausage is done cooking, get your garnish ready: fry some sage leaves in the remaining grease for no more than 30 seconds.

The pasta is done and drained, the sauce cooked, the sausage browned and cooked through–you’re good to go. So grate the cheese (I love using that grater blade on my food processor) and mix it into the sauce on low heat. Stir continuously to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Soon enough it will melt down and integrate into the sauce which will become quite thick. Once it does, crumble the cooked bacon and add that along with the sausage and pasta, tossing to coat evenly with sauce.

Finally, its time to eat. Serve yourself a plate, garnish with fried sage leaves, and enjoy!

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29 Responses to “Pasta with Sage Pumpkin Cream Sauce”

  1. linda Says:

    You’re very creative with pumpkin. The only things I ever did with pumpkin is make soup and roast it in the oven. Good ways of preparing it but obviously there’s more 😉 Love this combination, especially the addition of bacon.

  2. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    I think the cream would make it a bit on the rich side for my taste, but all the other ingredients in your sauce say ‘Winner!’ to me – lovely autumnal flavours. Sage is particularly good with pumpkin, I think, don’t you?

    Way to go, anyway – deluxe comfort food!

  3. Joanna in the kitchen Says:

    I would say it’s inventive. I have never thought about pasta with pumpkin cream sauce but it already sounds good to me. I have to try it :-)

  4. Sam Says:

    Looks like a good way to use up leftover Halloween pumpkin. I bet this would be good with butternut squash too.

  5. mikky Says:

    what a creative and delicious way of using pumpkin… amazing… i just have to try this… thanks for sharing, mike… :)

  6. Judy Says:

    Looks delicious. You just reminded me of a shrimp and butternut squash recipe that I have that I love. It’s amazing how good the flavor is!

  7. RecipeGirl Says:

    Looks like pumpkin mac n’ cheese. Yummmy!

  8. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    Rich, rich, rich, but looks oh so good!

  9. We Are Never Full Says:

    this is so weird b/c we had to use up some leftover guanciale (cured pig’s jowels i smuggled back from italy) and i thought of making something exactly like this. bizarre!! yours looks as delicious as i was picturing it could be. now i’ve got to really make it.

  10. grace Says:

    do you ever fail? good grief, this sounds fantastic!

  11. Meeta Says:

    this really is a great creation with pumpkin and pasta. where is that fork?

  12. Heather Says:

    looks good to me! i love sage with pretty much any winter squash or gourd. and of course i love hot italian sausage! what self-respecting italian wouldn’t?

  13. [eatingclub] vancouver || js Says:

    Looks great! I love how you countered the pumpkin’s sweetness with smoky bacon.

  14. Coffee and Vanilla Says:

    Wow, that is a very good use of Halloween pumpkin 😉
    I can imagine how delicious it was….

  15. Hélène Says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe. I like pumpkin in desserts but also in potage.

  16. pam Says:

    Bacon and sausage! That makes me happy.

  17. nina Says:

    Rich is an understatement for this dish. I have never even thought of this combination, but it sure looks delicious!

  18. Alexa Says:

    This pasta dish looks insanely good. Pure inspiration!

  19. noble pig Says:

    I love pumpkin savory dishes so this is perfection for me. Looks wonderful.

  20. Ivy Says:

    I would never have thought to use pumpkin in a pasta dish. Must definitely try this.

  21. Jude Says:

    I wonder why sage and pumpkins go so well together. There must be some scientific explanation. Just thinking out loud :)

  22. zenchef Says:

    Yay to pumpkin Mac & Cheese!.. and you worked bacon AND sausage into too!? Niiice.

    I want exactly THAT for dinner.

  23. shayne Says:

    hummmmmm, I wonder if I can pull this off with whole milk.

  24. Deeba Says:

    I love how adventurous you are getting with food, Mr wheres-my-beef sorta guy! It’s creative & wonderful! Well done again Mike!

  25. be Says:

    Yes I really think I would enjoy it too Mike. Healthy, healthy mac ‘n’ cheese:D

  26. Jennifer Says:

    Looks delicious Mike!

  27. Kevin Says:

    A pumpkin, Italian sausage and sage pasta sounds really tasty!

  28. Lauren’s Kitchen » Creamy Pumpkin and Sage Pasta Says:

    […] year, Mike from Mike’s Table had me on a pumpkin kick.  I made an attempt at his Pumpkin Sage Pasta, and a pumpkin soup, but because I used our large decorative pumpkin, my attempts were lackluster […]

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