Pumpkin season: Two recipes

Yesterday was the first official day of fall, but with early morning and evening temperatures already dipping into the low 50s here, I’ve already been getting into the spirit of some warm-your-belly-from-the-inside autumnal cooking.

Having a good excuse to cook with pumpkin — such a festively colored food — has been fun. I’ve never really made anything with pumpkin except for pumpkin bread and, of course, pumpkin pie, so I’ve been experimenting with incorporating canned pumpkin puree into main dishes. And I’ve been really pleased with results!

Pumpkin is very mild by itself, and its creamy texture and faint sweetness pairs really well with the smokiness and spiciness of sausage, it turns out. I use only chicken and turkey sausage because it has much less fat than pork sausage and is just as flavorful, in my opinion. My grocery store sells both fully cooked chicken sausage and uncooked turkey and chicken sausages in casings, all in a variety of flavors. Since I live in an apartment and can’t grill meats, I find using sausage keeps meat — which I ordinarily only have the time to saute or bake — interesting and flavorful.

Anyhow, one standard size can of unsweetened pumpkin goes a long way. One can was sufficient for both these recipes and a little extra leftover, which I’ve been adding by the spoonful, along with some cinnamon-sugar and nutmeg, to the occasional morning bowl of oatmeal. It’s almost like pumpkin bread…almost. 🙂

Without further ado:

Pumpkin-black bean soup with chicken-chorizo sausage:

Adapted from Closet Cooking

pumpkin black bean soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken-chorizo sausage, quartered and sliced (I used Al Fresco’s Chipotle Chorizo Chicken Sausage)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 15-oz. can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 T butter
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in pan. Add onions and saute until tender. Then add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add chorizo and saute until slightly browned and thoroughly heated.
  3. Add chicken stock, pumpkin puree, potato, beans, oregano, cumin, and cayenne. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
  6. Swirl in milk and stir in butter until melted. Top each bowl with black pepper and fresh chopped cilantro.

Pumpkin-sage farfalle with sweet Italian turkey sausage:

Adapted from Rachel Ray, served with roasted lemon-garlic broccoli and cauliflower

pumpkin sage pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium Spanish onion
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • 1 T corn starch (or 2 T flour, for thickening)
  • 1 lb. whole wheat or enhanced (such as Barilla Plus) farfalle pasta
  • parmesan, grated (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare pasta to al dente, following box instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and saute turkey sausage until brown, breaking apart with wooden spoon. Drain excess grease.
  3. Add onion and garlic to skillet with sausage, saute until tender and fragrant.
  4. Add bay leaf, sage and 1 cup broth to pan and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Add the remaining 1 cup broth and pumpkin puree. Stir until smooth and well-combined. Heat until bubbling.
  6. Add milk, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and corn starch. Simmer 10-15 minutes until sauce thickens.
  7. Add cooked pasta to sauce. Top each serving with freshly grated parmesan.
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