Pumpkin Pasta with “Sausage” and Sage

Let’s talk about sausage and best friends. I love both of these things, however when best friends decide to be vegetarian, this lovely relationship becomes problematic. Until I discovered this! Now, I have tried vegetarian fake meat products before and have literally gagged while trying to prepare them. Gimme lean tastes and cooks like real sausage, and is virtually fat-free and loaded with protein. I can’t wait to try it in other recipes that call for sausage. A sausage and vegetarian lover’s new best friend.

Pumpkin Pasta with “Sausage” and Sage
serves 4-6 / adapted from this recipe

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tube of gimme lean sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, + some whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (1/2 can)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • cinnamon (a few sprinks)
  • nutmeg (a few grates)
  • kosher salt and black pepper (easy on the salt — the “sausage” is on the saltier side)
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne
  • Parmigiano reggiano for grating

Here’s what I did:

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Heat up a couple of tsps of olive oil in a large saute pan. Crumble the fake sausage into small chunks and brown evenly in hot pan for 5-6 minutes.
  3. While the sausage is cooking, chop up onion, garlic, and sage. Remove sausage to a plate lined with paper towels and heat up another couple of tsps oil. Cook onion, garlic, and sage (season with S&P) until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble.
  6. At this point, drop the pasta and cook 1 or 2 minute shy of package directions.
  7. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in milk. Season the sauce with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and S&P, to taste. Simmer mixture about 10 minutes to thicken sauce. If it gets to thick, add more milk or stock.
  8. Remove the bay leaf and add drained pasta to the sausage pumpkin mixture. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with cheese and sage leaves. Stick your face in it.

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