Pumpkin Penne Pasta

I love that this dish uses pumpkin and pureed cottage cheese to make the creamy sauce that brings everything together. The sage and nutmeg are also a delicious touch that stands out well against the pumpkin. Feel free to use whatever chicken or turkey sausage you can find or have on hand. You could also opt to leave it out to make it a bit lighter or if you’re not a meat eater. Plus, this dish packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 36 grams of protein per serving!

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Ingredients

8 oz penne pasta *see note
2 tsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 medium-large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
3 links cooked chicken sausage **see note
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
10 oz torn spinach (or kale), thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional

Directions

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Barilla PLUS is a good pasta choice as it has added protein in it. You could also use gluten-free if needed or I’ve even thought about trying it with some cooked spaghetti squash, though I haven’t done it yet.

** any type of chicken sausage that you like or can find should work sufficiently. I’ve used different kinds that I’ve bought from Trader Joe’s, CostCo and WalMart. Some brands are Al Fresco, Bistro Sensations and Johnsonville. I, personally, like to use the Sweet Apple ones but I’ve pretty much used them all and loved how they all tasted.

Nutritional Information

per serving, makes 4 servings

Calories 496.5
  Total Fat 12.4 g
  Saturated Fat 3.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
  Cholesterol 53.7 mg
  Sodium 767.5 mg
  Potassium 687.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 61.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
  Sugars 14.2 g
  Protein 36.3 g
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