I was wandering around on the Real Women of Philadelphia site the other day and saw a recipe that included orzo, pumpkin, and cream cheese. I really enjoy pumpkin or squash ravioli, so I already knew I liked pumpkin with pasta, and I liked the idea of the cream cheese for a super creamy texture. What threw me was the thought of that with orzo. It seems too tiny to hold up to such a thick sauce. Then I remembered that I had some spicy Italian Sausage links in the freezer and decided to incorporate those into a dish.
6-8 oz penne pasta
chicken broth (and/or water for pasta)
2-3 oz bulk hot Italian sausage *
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t oregano
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 c white wine
1 c pumpkin
2 T cream cheese
Cook the pasta in chicken broth and/or water, reserving the liquid.
* When it came to the sausage, I estimate 2-3 oz of bulk, because I was using up some links I had in the freezer. I removed the casings from the four I had, intending to use half in this dish and set aside half to go in an egg dish the next morning, but of course I combined everything before I remembered to remove half, so there is a lot more than required here.
Cook the sausage over medium heat until just about cooked through, then add the garlic and onion.
When the onion is translucent, season with the oregano and black pepper, then slowly pour in the white wine, deglazing the pan to scrape up all those tasty bits on the bottom.
Allow that to simmer until the wine is well reduced. You will see that if you run your spatula or a spoon along the bottom of the pan, that path won't immediately fill in.
Stir in the pumpkin and cream cheese until well incorporated.
At this time, your pasta should be cooked, so you can transfer it directly from the pasta pot to the pan using a slotted spoon or a spider.
Gently fold in the pasta, then stir in enough of the cooking broth as required to reach a texture that you like for your sauce.
|Add onion and garlic|
|Add wine and reduce|
|Season with oregano and pepper|
|Stir until well incorporated|
|Add pumpkin and cream cheese|
|Garnish as desired|
|Add pasta and broth|