Happy Halloween and a Seasonal Favorite: Pumpkin Pasta

I have been looking forward to today’s lunch out with my friend all week. As a mom who stays home most days, it is pretty easy to get cabin fever. I spend a lot of time at parks trying to make other mom friends. This video perfectly describes me most days.

Having lunch out with twin toddlers can be hectic, but it is good for the soul. The best part, hands down, is not having to clean the floor. This may sound silly, but cleaning the floor is my own personal torture. It is the ultimate Sisyphean task, since you clean it up just to have it get completely trashed again in a matter of hours.

Of course, JJ woke up from his nap with a fever, so I had to cancel lunch. I felt like a kid who had just found out Santa was not real – totally heartbroken.

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The only good thing about sick kids is that they are super cuddly.

The good news is that I knew tonight’s dinner would cheer me up. Pumpkin pasta is an October tradition in the Buckley household. It seems like a strange blend of flavors, but it is autumn in a bowl.  This recipe is adapted from 30 Minute Meals by Rachel Ray, a gift I got upon graduating from college. At the time I thought I would hate the cookbook, but I there are actually quite a few great go-to recipes that I’ve found in it.

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound mushrooms, can be white, shitake, or Portobello. Or a mix.
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 14 oz can canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound Penne Rigate, cooked to al dente
  • Romano or Parmigiano, for garnish
  • Chives for garnish (optional)
  1. Boil water in a large pot, get the pasta cooking.
  2. Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate.
  3. Cook mushrooms, garlic, and onion with a small pat of butter (because why not?) until onions are tender
  4.  Return sausage to the pan.
  5. Add wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add sage, stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Reduce heat, simmer mixture 10 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  7. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. S
  8. Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. 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.
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This is what love and coziness tastes like.

The Verdict:

You know how taste can evoke such powerful memories? The taste of this pasta brings me back 7 years to when my husband (then boyfriend) and I were first living together in a spacious but old apartment in DC. We made this pasta for our little family, which at the time consisted of the two of us and our bachelor third roommate. Making this always makes me thankful for my close family and dear friends. It is always good to end the day on a happy note!

Have a fun and festive Halloween, everyone!

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Happy Halloween!

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