This is a perfect comfort dish for chilly evenings that features great flavors of autumn. Gnocchi is being used, but you could easily substitute it for another type of pasta. The addition of the coconut milk creates a light creaminess to the sauce without making it heavy. It also adds a slight sweetness that complements the pumpkin. The sausage and sage balances the flavors perfectly. I highly recommend purchasing a good quality shaved parmesan for taste and for presentation. After creating this dish you may want to rethink carving the pumpkin and eating it instead. Even thought this looks a little fancy it can easily be made as a weeknight meal by properly timing all components. Or make the pumpkin ahead of time, refrigerate overnight until ready to use. Serve 4.
3 cups of pumpkin, rind removed and diced into large cubes, about one inch to two inch pieces
A sprinkle of kosher salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 pound of mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium yellow onion sliced
6 large leaves of sage cut using the chiffonade technique
1 – 14 oz. can of lite coconut milk or chicken broth
1 – 14 oz. can of 99 % fat free chicken broth
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
1- 16 oz. package of gnocchi or your favorite pasta
Small sage leaves (optional)
Shaved parmesan cheese
Cut pumpkin into large pieces. Remove seeds. Remove the rind from pumpkin like you would a cantaloupe. Once rind has been removed cut into pieces. Place all of the pumpkin pieces into a large bowl and toss with a sprinkle of kosher and olive oil. Pour onto two baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Add the pumpkin back into the large bowl and with a mixer, mix to a rough mash.
While sausage is browning cook pasta according to package directions. In a large deep skillet over medium high heat brown sausage along with the sliced onions. Once browned and cooked thoroughly add the sage and sauté until fragrant. Add mashed pumpkin to the skillet and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk or additional broth, broth and salt. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add cheese and stir until evenly melted. Drain cooked gnocchi and add to the skillet and stir until evenly coated. Ladle into serving bowls or serve family style. Garnish with small sage leaves if using and shaved parmesan cheese.
Try Sansilverstro Cantine Patres Barolo (Italy), Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Veronese (Italy), Masi Modello Delle Venezie (Italy), Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Milton, DE) or Michelob Brewing Co. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale (St. Louis, MO).