I was asked to participate in the #PastaFits campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Do you ever think about how differently you eat depending on the season? Sure, it’s partly because of seasonal produce, but the temperature outside, and the family schedule also has a lot to do with what goes on our plates at different times of the year. That’s one of the biggest reasons I love pasta – it adapts so easily to so many different types of recipes. Whether you toss it with fresh vegetables and eat it cold in the summer, or stir it into a big pot of soup for busy school nights, or treat yourself to a creamy casserole dish of comfort food as the sun starts to set earlier – it’s all good! At less than 200 calories, lots of healthy complex carbs, and with 7 grams of protein per serving, pasta is a great foundation for a satisfying and healthy meal, and the perfect partner to pair with so many healthy ingredients.
This recipe definitely fits the bill for seasonal flavor, busy schedules and comfort food. It is October after all! No need to shy away from this creamy, cheesy, and rich recipe though – it’s actually made with ALL healthy and lightened up ingredients. More proof that Pasta Fits into a healthy AND delicious diet.
My inspiration for this recipe was actually a dish I had in Florence, Italy several years ago, and we all know what pasta is to Italy. It featured fresh sweet sausage and a creamy blue cheese sauce along with the pasta, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven 🙂 SO. Good. My then teenage son actually ordered a second portion.
I lightened up the cream sauce, and used pumpkin puree to give it a seasonal flavor (and a huge boost of vitamin A). Sweet turkey sausage works just as well as pork or beef sausage and it cuts the calories and saturated fat significantly, and whole grain pasta adds fiber.
Gorgonzola dolce is an Italian blue cheese, which is divine. If you don’t love blue cheese, you can certainly skip it, but if you’re adventurous, give it a try! This pasta recipe is quick and easy enough to whip up on any weeknight, but I think the flavors are special enough to serve when you’re having company.
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Rigatoni with Sweet Turkey Sausage and Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
- 1 medium onion minced
- 1 pound of sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 1 -15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling!
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 -12 ounce can evaporated milk
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola Dolce or other mild blue cheese
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta whole grain or regular, cooked, and drained, reserving 1 cup pasta water
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until light golden brown.
- Remove the sausage from the casings, add it to the pan and break up with a spatula. Cook sausage until browned and no longer pink.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and add the pumpkin puree, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Slowly add evaporated milk, and lightly whisk it into the sauce to combine.
- Reduce heat to low, and stir in blue cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened.
- Fold in the pasta, and if the sauce needs to be loosened a bit, add some pasta water, a few tablespoons or 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Adjust any seasonings, and serve immediately.
How do you love your pasta?