Pasta with Spicy Saugage and Pumpkin Sauce

by Anne Papina on March 13, 2001

I have to tell you — Nick Stellino is one of my favorite TV chefs. He has a charming style and makes the most complicated dishes seem relatively easy.

I saw him prepare this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and needless to say, I couldn’t wait to try it myself. It’s really simple, and the combination of ingredients is a welcome deviation from the typical pasta sauce.

If you love garlic, throw in a few extra cloves:

Pasta with Spicy Saugage and Pumpkin Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves 6 to 8.
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 6-8
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 15 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ cups white wine
  • 1¼ cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound penne, penne rigate, rigatoni or tortiglioni
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, about 3 minutes. While it browns, break it up into bite-sized pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off heat and remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Cover and set aside.
  2. Keep 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pan, and discard the rest. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and sage, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring well, until the onion and garlic start to brown. Add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for 8 minutes, stirring well to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the pumpkin purée and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add the stock and cinnamon if desired, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water, with the 1 tablespoon of salt added to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions of the package. Drain well in a colander over the sink and pour back into the pot. Add the sauce and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the Parmesan if desired and serve.


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