Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage-Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

The geese are on the move! I could hear them all morning yesterday as they flew past. Which means one thing.

Winter is coming.

The weather forecast says it'll be rainy and in the 50s (Fareinheit) all week, then back up to the 60s by Monday next. So it's not very cold just yet. And I'm enjoying this gentle cool... perfect for getting the crock pot going. And I'm craving fall flavors--which led me to today's post.

I was expecting company and was looking for something easy and different, without a lot of last-minute work, and low carb is a must in my house. I found a can of solid-pack pumpkin in the pantry, and looked at my plethora of winter squash. Aha! There's my pasta. So an italian-inspired sauce it would be.

Now obviously the spaghetti squash is my pasta-replacer, but this would be just as wonderful over a traditional pasta shape, like angel hair or shells.

This recipe is unbelievably delicious. Don't go by the picture--it just doesn't do it justice.

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage-Pumpkin-Sage Sauce
Serves 6

olive oil
1.5 pounds sweet italian sausage (I used low-fat pork sausage), casings removed
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-3/4 cups canned solid pack pumpkin or pureed pumpkin
4 cups vegetable stock (I used a homemade low-salt chicken-ham broth), divided
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
few scrapes nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

whole spaghetti squash

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, brown sausage in olive oil until cooked through; transfer sausage to a large pot, crock pot or dutch oven and set aside.

Add more olive oil to skillet if needed, and saute onion over medium heat until transparent; add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion mixture to sausage in pot.

Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of stock over low heat. Add pumpkin and stir to combine, adding stock in 1/2 cup increments until all has been incorporated with the pumpkin puree. Add cream cheese, parmesan, sage, parsley, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cream cheese is melted. Add heavy cream and stir to combine; bring to a low simmer and immediately remove from heat.

Pour pumpkin sauce over sausage mixture in reserved pot. Keep warm until ready to use.

Poke holes in spaghetti squash with a wooden skewer or knife. Place whole squash in microwave and cook for 6 minutes on high. Turn squash over and cook another 6 minutes on high. Let rest 15 minutes. Slice off stem end and cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds from center and discard. With a fork, release spaghetti-like squash flesh from the plant into a bowl.

Serve sauce over squash strands and enjoy.

Cook's notes: I should have added mushrooms! The rich, earthy taste of this sauce really shouted for mushrooms--a definite for next time. Deglazing the pan with white wine would also be a wonderful addition. Do resist the urge to add more traditional italian sauce ingredients such as oregano or basil--they would really overpower the delicate balance of flavors here. This would be fabulous served as a soup, too.

My guests and I took tentative first bites; I was a bit concerned with the perfume of the dish--that sage was very fragrant, but appropriately so. Then everyone dove into their plates. Nary a word was spoken until plates were clean and they started digging in for second helpings.

I love it when that happens.

This recipe is my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Night.

Be well,


Ruth Daniels said...

It does sound like the perfect dish for Autumn. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta NIght.

Mrs. W said...

It was wonderful--I recommend it highly! I look forward to the roundup this week!

Buster the Wired Fox Terror said...

Heya! Nice to know you are still out there and still low carbing!

Keep in touch....


Foxye said...

Oops, I was signed in as my dog!

It's me!


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