Saturday, March 30, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin "Pasta" with Sausage & Mushrooms

This was our second-to-last night of our Paleo Challenge and I cannot believe we are winding down already! The meal I made tonight was one that I had been thinking about Paleo-izing for a while now, so it seemed as good a time as any!  I originally made this recipe probably about 2 years ago out of Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook. I never would have thought about combining pumpkin, sausage, and mushrooms until I tried it, but boy was she right about this one- it tasted delicious!  It wasn't too hard to make Paleo- mainly I had to just substitute spaghetti squash for that glorious Penne pasta.  And of course, I couldn't douse it in Parmesan cheese like I normally would...  Now, I used store-bought packaged sausage for this, which some hard core Paleo-ites would frown upon, so if you want to make your own or use organic or whatever, go for it.  Other than that, this recipe should be perfect!  Here is what I did:

Paleo Pumpkin "Pasta" with Sausage & Mushrooms
(serves 4)
  • 1 lb bulk mild (or sweet) Italian sausage
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (use any mushroom combination you want!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 c dry white wine or sherry (OPTIONAL if you are avoiding alcohol)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 c canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg 
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash (make the whole thing and freeze 1/2 of the "spaghetti" for future use)
  • sprinkle dried or fresh chives as garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees to roast the squash. Slice the squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds and goopy stuff from the middle.  Place squash halves on a baking sheet/pan flesh side up and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 45 min to an hour, until the flesh is softened.

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat and brown the sausage in it. Once it is all broken apart and cooked (no pink), transfer it to a plate.  There should be a little fat left in the skillet.  Return pan to the stove and add the olive oil.  Toss in the garlic, onions and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender and mushrooms are browned. 

Deglaze the pan with the wine/sherry (or chicken broth if you aren't using alcohol).  Add chicken stock and heat for one minute until it starts to bubble.  Stir in pumpkin and incorporate - it will be thick.  Return sausage to pan, reduce heat to low, and stir in almond milk. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

When the squash is done roasting, take it out of the oven and use forks to scrape away the flesh.  This will create spaghetti-like strands.  Get as much from the squash half as you can and add it to the sauce mixture.   Stir it all around and it is ready to serve!  Serve it up on a plate and garnish with chives.  If you were eating dairy, this would be a great time to add some Parmesan...

Other than roasting the squash, this meal takes only about 30 minutes of actual prep time.  It has a TON of different flavors that work really well together, and it is not something you would usually think to make!  I love Rachael Ray recipes, but they are typically grain and cheese heavy, so I am hoping to try to Paleo-ize more of her meals at some point.  Hope you enjoy this!

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