Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Penne Casserole

If it's not apparent by now, I've been on a major pumpkin kick lately. I've made cheese tortellini in a pumpkin sauce (my personal favorite), pumpkin lasagna rolls, pumpkin bread, pumpkin swirl brownies, pumpkin dip (Eric's favorite), and even a mini pumpkin pie (Eric's second favorite). To say the least, I've pumpkin'ed poor Eric out--except for the pumpkin dip, he's already asked me to make more. So when I made this casserole, I didn't tell him there was pumpkin in it (Bad, girlfriend, bad). He came home from work and I told him dinner was on the stove if he was hungry. He mentioned that it smelled good and asked what was in it. I started off with the magical word: sausage, then listed off some other ingredients. Eric took a few bites and loved it. After he cleared half his plate, he asked again what was in it, there was something he couldn't identify. That's when I let the bomb drop: pumpkin. The pumpkin in this dish is mild and takes a backseat to the spiciness of the dish. Even though it was pumpkin, Eric continued to finish what was on his plate.

2 spicy sausages (I used Hillshire Farms jalapeno and cheddar smoked sausage), chopped
2 cups penne pasta
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook sausage until golden brown. Remove from pan. Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add pumpkin, chicken stock, salt, and sage and stir. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, cream cheese, and sausage. Simmer until the sauce slightly thickens. Add pasta and parsley and toss. Spray a 8x8 inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray and pour in sausage and pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


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