This is one of my go to weeknight dinners during the fall and winter. A hot bowl of this pasta is just what you need when it’s cold outside and it comes together really quickly. It’s a satisfying comfort meal filled with cozy flavors of pumpkin, sage, thyme and sausage being the star in this meal. The spinach and pumpkin are added bonuses because they’re both packed with nutrients and fiber to keep you full longer and faster.
You can use any kind of ground pork in this dish. I’ve tried ground hot Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, and plain ground pork and all are delicious! I personally like a little spice so if you use either the sweet sausage or plain pork, go on the larger amount of red chili flakes if you like spice too.
I normally use fresh spinach, but if you use frozen thaw it separately and squeeze out as much liquid as you can so it doesn’t water down the dish. If you use fresh spinach and it’s not wilting, don’t worry – once you add the hot pasta and hot pasta water, it will wilt fine. You’ll notice once you add the pasta it will be thick so saving pasta water will help thin out the pumpkin to be more of a sauce consistency.
Pumpkin Sausage Pasta
– 1 lb. Ground pork
– 15 oz. can of pumpkin
– 2 tbsp ricotta
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1-2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tbsp dried thyme
– 1 tbsp dried sage
– 2 cups spinach
– 2 ½ – 3 cups rigatoni
– ½ – ¾ cup saved pasta water
– Shaved parmesan pecorino romano cheese
1. Brown the ground pork in a large pan, draining any grease.
2. Stir in the pumpkin, ricotta, chili flakes, garlic powder, thyme, sage, and spinach.
3. While the spinach is wilting, cook the pasta and remember to save some pasta water to add to the dish if it’s too thick.
4. Drain the pasta and add to the pumpkin pork mixture. The hot pasta will wilt the spinach more if it hasn’t already. If the pumpkin sauce is too thick, add the pasta water accordingly to thin it out.
5. Serve and top with cheese! Enjoy!
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