Penne with Pumpkin and Sausage

This delicious and rich dish is a wonderful make-ahead meal to feed a crowd.


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 leaves sage, very thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • About 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, plus a few grates for roast squash
  • 2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch dice, divided
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 large, fresh bay leaf
  • Olive oil, for coating, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
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In a large mixing bowl, season the pork with salt and pepper. Add four leaves sliced sage and the thyme, vinegar, wine, chili flakes, fennel seed, granulated onion, garlic and nutmeg. Combine and chill for several hours, or overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Place half of the pumpkin or squash in a small pot with the stock, onion, bay leaf and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove the onion and bay, and puree with an immersion blender – the sauce should be loose and just coat a spoon.

Coat the remaining squash in olive oil and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast for 20 minutes, until tender.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When the foam subsides, fry the remaining sage leaves in two batches until crisp; drain. Pour the brown sage butter into the pumpkin puree and stir to combine.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork mixture (sausage) and brown and crumble.

Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente.

Remove the roast squash from the oven.

Add the pumpkin puree to the sausage and stir in a half cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta. Stir in the crème fraîche, then remove from the heat. Drain the pasta and toss with the sausage, sauce and roast squash. Top with the crispy fried sage leaves and cheese; serve.

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