Dinner Tonight: Pumpkin-Sausage Pasta

Right now, you’re one of two people: you’re either the kind of person who has heard of a pumpkin-sausage pasta and are super, super excited (if that’s you, go ahead and skip down to the recipe part) or you’re a skeptic that thinks I’ve completely lost my mind (if that’s you, keep reading right here).
The first year Andrew and I were married, we lived in Michigan.  In the beginning, we knew no one, didn’t have any friends, didn’t know what to do…we were completely lost.  I bought a magazine that covered Detroit and the surrounding suburbs.  In it, was a list of the top 50 places to eat in metropolitan Detroit…over the next year, we ate at almost every one of them.  My favorite restaurant of the bunch was this little white house in Northville, Michigan that served upscale fare from candlelit tables.  I went back several times for the pumpkin-sausage pasta.
Pumpkins are just a type of squash remember (not strictly a filling for pie).  The pumpkin pairs so nicely with the sausage, garlic, onion and Parmesan cheese that you’ll forget it even goes in a pie.  Pumpkin is not sweet (which is what most people think of) nor does it naturally come with cinnamon inside it (Andrew Shull!).  This pasta is an easy version of a fall classic that will have you eating dinner in no time and back for seconds as well.

Shopping List
1 pound pasta (we always use whole wheat rigatoni…you use what you have on hand)
1 pound pork sausage (or use chicken or turkey sausage…it’s yummy either way)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just good old Libby’s canned pumpkin)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese…as much or as little as your family likes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper…of course!
Bring one large pot of water up to a boil for your pasta. Drop pasta in and cook 5-7 minutes depending on how done you like your pasta.
In another large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown and crumble the sausage. After sausage has browned, add in onion and garlic and saute 4 to 5 minutes.  Once sausage and onion mixture is sauteed, pour in chicken broth to de-glaze your pan. Lower heat to low and let chicken broth simmer 2-3 minutes.  Stir in your pumpkin and heat through about 3 minutes. 
Drain your pasta and add to sausage pan.  Stir in your cheese and that’s it!  You’re done!

I’m telling you, you’re going to love this dish!!  Plus, I love any dish that incorporates a veggie into my pasta without my kids knowing.  If you have spare time, you could always roast a pumpkin yourself instead of using canned.  But for me, on a weeknight, this method right here gets dinner on the table and my family happy in easy minutes.

Happy Supper!

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  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} September 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

    This looks AMAZING!!!!! And that picture of Smith smiling is just too cute for words! Oh…and I totally laughed out loud at your comment directed at Andrew!

  • Maureen W. (Maryland) September 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    You had me at "upscale fare from candlelit tables"! It is OFFICIALLY Fall here, cooler temps and all, so I cannot wait to make this. I know I say this all the time, but this is another recipe I love because I already have most of what I need on hand and just need to pick up a can of pumpkin. Another meal just got bumped from this week's menu and this one slid right into its place!!

    PS – Pumpkins with cinnamon naturally inside???? Your husband might just be a GENIUS! Can we get the pumpkin-growing-engineers on that ASAP????

  • Mix and Match Mama September 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Jenna! I think if you add plenty of fennel seed and Italian spice in there, the flavor notes will still be the same. I would add a healthy couple of tablespoons of each. You could also crumble a vegetarian burger patty in there to give you a meaty flavor…or some mushrooms as well.

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} September 25, 2012 at 1:35 am

    I love all things pumpkin…in fact, my birthday cake every year is a pumpkin pie. So I'm totally going to try this out…thanks for the recipe. found you via sheaffer and you're quickly filling my pinterest food board!

  • Marianne Christine Williamson September 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Hi Shay! Where in Michigan did you live?! Northville is about 5 minutes from me!

  • Mix and Match Mama September 26, 2012 at 2:02 am

    We lived in Dearborn :). I loved living in Michigan!

  • Mix and Match Mama September 28, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Hi Jenna! Thank you so much for letting me know! Yay!! Have a great Friday tomorrow!

  • Toddler Mom October 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I actually roasted one of those cute little pumpkins not too long ago with the intention of making pumpkin sausage pasta! So what a great time to see this post. I'm anxious to see if fresh roasted pumpkin tastes different than the canned kind. My Taste of Home magazine has a pumpkin pasta recipe and it's very similar to yours, so I feel like I just got a second opinion on how good it will be!

  • Jen September 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I made this a few weeks ago and my 18 month old LOVED it. He normally wants all his pasta plain, but he devoured it. I will be making this again tonight. Thanks!

  • Anonymous October 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I'm going to try it with Spaghetti Squash since we are eating low carb so no pasta. Sounds yummy.

  • Anonymous October 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Shay,

    Does using ground turkey instead of pork sausage change the taste completely? I tried this over the weekend using ground turkey and did not come out quite like what i thought it would.Do you normally use ground pork? Love the ease and simplicity of this recipe.

  • Mix and Match Mama October 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    You can use a turkey sausage but not just ground turkey. You need to use some kind of sausage (pork, chicken or turkey) for the flavor. Ground turkey by itself would probably make this recipe a bit too bland.

  • Anonymous October 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks, Shay

    I will definitely try it with a pork sausage instead, because it was definitely very ,very bland with the plain ground turkey.

  • Anonymous October 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I made this recipe tonight. So delicious and easy! I was skeptical of the pumpkin at first, but I was proven wrong. Everyone needs to try this dish. Thanks Shay! Allison

  • JP November 1, 2013 at 5:01 am

    This pasta was so yummy and easy to make! My 18 month old daughter loved it! I highly suggest this recipe for kids and picky eaters…they will love it! Thanks for a new easy recipe to add to the Fall rotation!

  • Anonymous November 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I tried this recipe last night with the additions of crushed red pepper and a little ground cinnamon. The cinnamon really sent it over the top! Thanks for the idea.

  • bleighgo September 25, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I made this recipe tonight, AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing – this is absolutely going to be a fall classic for me. I love how easy it was to whip up too! Thank you again!

  • Melissa H. September 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

    How many servings does this make? Would it freeze well? I plan on trying this tonight!

  • Mix and Match Mama September 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

    This serves four adults and would probably freeze well :).

  • Melissa H. September 25, 2014 at 11:33 am


  • Faith October 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Do you use Italian sausage or breakfast sausage?

  • Mix and Match Mama October 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Either one would be great!! Enjoy!

  • Mix and Match Mama October 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Either one would be great!! Enjoy!

  • Lindsey Wolfe October 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Do you remember the name of the restaurant in Northville? I'm in Ann Arbor and always looking for new date night restaurants! Granted – date nights with two little kids is few and far between – but nice to have a list to choose from should the opportunity arise!

    Thanks! Adding this dish to next week's meal plan! YUM!

  • Kristen Wood October 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I was totally skeptical about this. I do love pumpkin, but was a little nervous about it in my pasta and my husband was even more skeptical. Made it anyway–it was AWESOME!! Will be making this again for sure!! Thank you for making my dinner nights so much easier!!

  • Paula September 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Look back for this recipe….but oh my, how much have Kensington & Smith have changed.

  • Lyndsey Parks October 12, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Shay! I just had to come back and comment on this dish! I was totally the hesitant one–never had a savory pumpkin dish. But I had leftover pumpkin so decided to use it for savory instead of having tons of sweets in the house 🙂 Let me just say that this meal serves 4 adult. I made it for my husband and I… and we ate the whole thing! I had two helpings and my hubby had 3! WOW, it went fast and I wasn't mad one bit. Delish! Thanks for another great recipe!! It's a "make-again" in our house for sure!

  • Kathy Roe November 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    This is one of my new favorite recipes! It is so good! I hope to introduce it to my family over Thanksgiving weekend. If they don’t like it, at least I will have yummy leftovers to freeze and pull out for lunches. Thanks for sharing!