Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pumpkin Alfredo Sausage Bake

It’s not quite Thanksgiving but that doesn’t mean any of us has to wait to enjoy the classic flavors of fall-- or work very hard to put dinner tonight together.  Pumpkin Alfredo Penne with Sausage manages to be a hearty seasonal supper that won’t weigh you down. Cottage cheese whipped into the sauce lightens the texture.  Pumpkin compliments the cheesy ingredients and mellows the intensity of the spicy sausage in this pasta bake. 

Around the table reviews included “cheesy” and “lots of sausage flavor.”  Pure cooking lets each food's own qualities shine through and this is a simple example.  Any sliced cooked vegetable like broccoli, mushrooms or green beans will also fit into the recipe nicely.  (We had our broccoli on the side.)

Pumpkin Alfredo Penne with Sausage

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
2 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound spicy sausage meat* (loose)
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
optional: 2 ounces mozzarella or other good melting cheese for topping

Method
  1. Lightly oil a medium baking dish (should hold about 6 cups).  Preheat oven to 325˚F.  
  2. Make sauce.  Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, cottage cheese and grated Parmesan in a food processor.  Set aside.
  3. Cook sausage, leaving the meat in bite-sized chunks. Drain any excess fat.  
  4. Cook pasta until just al dente and drain.  (pasta will continue to cook in the oven).
  5. Return pasta to the pot. Add Pumpkin Alfredo sauce and stir to coat pasta.  Add sausage. 
  6. Pour into a prepared baking dish.  Top with grated or sliced mozzarella cheese.  
  7. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes, until bubbling.  Serve immediately.

*Use your favorite non-breakfast sausage, sweet or hot.  You can use turkey or a combo or pork and turkey.