Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on September 22, 2013

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

What’s not to love about fall? Thoughts of turning leaves, cool, crisp evenings, and cozy sweaters paint a romantic portrait in my mind. But in my San Francisco reality, much of that won’t pan out yet as the fog finally clears, making way for our Indian Summer. Sure, leaves will turn, eventually, but without all the pomp and circumstance of the East Coast leaves. And then there’s the food. Lots of homey, comforting foods made with apples, pumpkins, butternut squashes, and this week the #SundaySupper crew has a cornucopia of fall inspired recipes for you, hosted by Soni over at Soni’s Food. I’m bringing a special treat–penne with a spicy pumpkin and sausage sauce.

Back in the days when cooking shows were mostly the domain of PBS, I’d become enamoured with the very charming Nick Stellino. Perhaps a little heavy on the cheesy Italian schtick, week after week he would effortlessly deliver beautiful and unique Italian dishes. This recipe is adapted from one he made on the show. The pumpkin puree, with its oh-so-subtle sweetness, makes the sauce creamy and is the perfect contrast to the spicy Italian sausage. Oh, and the garlic. Once it’s browned and braised in the sauce, you won’t give another thought to the fact that you probably used an entire head.

I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe, including swapping out chicken stock for turkey stock. Feel free to use chicken stock if that’s what you have, but I recommend getting your hands on some turkey stock. It may seem like an insignificant switch, but the richer flavor profile of the turkey stock will take this to another level.

Let’s get cooking!

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

In a large saute pan, brown the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Once browned, remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Add the olive oil to the sausage drippings in the pan, and turn the heat back on to medium. Add the onion, garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes. Saute this until the onion and garlic start to brown.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine.

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Stir in the turkey stock and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin puree, stirring so that it’s fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and let simmer about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

The sauce will reduce a bit as it cooks, and once it’s ready, toss in the drained, cooked pasta, fully coating the pasta with the sauce. Let this simmer for several minutes, until thick and creamy, then stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Serve yourself two heaping bowls, since two is always better than one. 😉

Here’s the printable version:

5.0 from 3 reviews
Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Penne rigate is tossed with a creamy sauce of pumpkin puree and spicy Italian sausage forming the perfect fall pasta dish.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 15 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ cups white wine
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 1½ cups canned pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound penne rigate, cooked
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the sausage in a large sauté pan over high heat until browned. As it cooks, break it up into bite-sized pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan, return to medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes. Cook this about 8-10 minutes, until the onion and garlic start to brown. Return the sausage to the pan and heat through.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for a few minutes, dislodging any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Next add the turkey stock, and bring to a boil. Stir in the pumpkin purée, stirring well, until the pumpkin is fully incorporated. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, so that the sauce reduces a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions of the package. Drain.
  5. When the sauce is ready, add the drained pasta to the sauce and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.


Let’s take a look at all the wonderful fall dishes everyone else has cooked!

Amazing Breakfasts, Brunches, and Breads

Outstanding Soups, Starters and Sides:

Comforting Main Dishes:

Decadent Desserts:

Tasty Drinks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Marjory @ Dinner-Mom September 22, 2013 at 4:25 am

Love this! I’ve been wanting to try a pumpkin sauce over pasta…it’s officially on my to-do list!


Stacy September 22, 2013 at 4:42 am

Can I please have three bowls, Anne? Too greedy? Sorry, but it looks and sounds like my kind of meal!


Tammi @ Momma's Meals September 22, 2013 at 5:19 am

What a fantastic dish! I can’t wait to put this on my must make list for the season! Thanks for sharing!


Julie @ Texan New Yorker September 22, 2013 at 6:28 am

This looks fabulous. I made a similar dish a few years ago and still think about it – perhaps it’s a sign I should make it again! Pumpkin and sausage go so well together. Thanks!


Nichole C September 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

This looks absolutely awesome. I cannot wait to make this!


Constance Smith @FoodieArmyWife September 22, 2013 at 6:59 am

Oh yum! I think I want this now, and it is only breakfast time!


Nicole @ Daily Dish Recipes September 22, 2013 at 7:22 am

Oh wow! Wow. I don’t even have words, because I kinda want to forgo the elegant dinner this could be served at, and just face plant (or dive, maybe less messy) right into a bowl. That looks fabulous!


Liz September 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

What a lovely pasta dish. I think even the picky hubby would go for it…I just wouldn’t mention that there was pumpkin involved 😉


Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) September 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm

This sounds incredible!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers September 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I am loving all of these spicy pumpkin dishes! Your pasta looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes September 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm

One of my favorite ways to eat pasta is with sausage, mostly in tomato sauce. The idea of adding pumpkin is just amazing Anne! Another great recipe to add to my pasta rotation.


Alida September 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm

What a perfect dish for Fall! My husband LOVES sausage and pumpkin, so would definitely be having a second (or third) bowl.


Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) September 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

The change in seasons is one of the things I missed most when I lived in SF. The year-round temperate climate always threw me for a loop when the holidays came around.

I make a similar dish using butternut squash, but I’ll have to add sausage next time for a heartier dish! This looks great!


Angie | Big Bears Wife September 23, 2013 at 10:22 am

Love pasta! Pumpkin pasta on top of that! You indeed picked a great recipe for this week’s Sunday Supper!


Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips September 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

Mmm, I love spicy sausage with butternut squash, so I bet this is amazing, and easier since you don’t have to hack through a squash!


Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere September 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This sounds amazing. I am loving all the savory squash ideas this week!


Nancy @ gottagetbaked September 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Whoa! I’m drooling looking at all of your photos! Pasta will always be one of my favourite meals. I don’t think I could ever give it up. I love the combo of the pumpkin and sausage. I really need to go to San Fran in September. I’ve been there four times but always in July/August, when it’s still cold and usually foggy. Next time I’m there, I’ll let you know so that you can make this delicious dish for me 😉


Amanda @ Marocmama September 29, 2013 at 5:10 am

Well, now I know what’s for dinner!! Sooooo yummy!


Jen @ Keto Recipes January 29, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Haven’t tried this with turkey stock. I will definitely make it. Thanks for sharing.


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