8 ounces rigatoni pasta 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 8 ounces mild Italian sausage, removed from casings 1/4 cup finely diced onion 2 garlic cloves, minced Pinch of red pepper flakes 4-5 ounces fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree Salt and pepper Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Cook pasta in salted, boiling water according to the package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until the onion has browned slightly and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped spinach to the skillet along with the grated nutmeg. Cook the spinach until it is completely wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat until the pasta is ready and drained.
Return the skillet to medium-high. Add the pumpkin puree and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in the reserved pasta water, about 1/2 cup at a time, until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. Add the sausage and pasta; gently toss. Add more of the pasta water if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
This is a simple and delicious pasta dish for fall which combines crispy brown pieces of Italian sausage with fresh spinach in a creamy pumpkin sauce. The pumpkin puree mixed with some of the pasta cooking water creates the creamy-textured and flavorful sauce; no cream or butter is added. Enjoy it for a weeknight dinner or add it to your selection of Pasta for Thanksgiving.
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