“Jana,” you say, “pumpkin and chestnuts are SO Fall 2019 and it is Winter 2020. What are you even doing?!”
Ok, so SEO is not my thing, and I am a super basic white girl who, while loving and enjoying the sh*t out of all things fall, believes pumpkin to be delicious and appropriate year-round. SO DEAL.
This recipe was the result of me wondering how I could make a pasta dish from a dusty can of pumpkin puree and the chestnut flour I was pumped to use for homemade pasta. Chestnut flour can be spendy, so I knew I needed to make a special sauce to pair with it. If you can’t find chestnut flour at your local grocery store, you can buy some here. Note, of course, that you can use any store-bought / non-chestnut flour noodle you prefer. The sauce is hearty enough that extruded pasta shapes, like fusilli or penne, would be wonderful, as the sauce can work its way into all the nooks and crevices. I made homemade orecchiette the other day (just semolina flour and water), and think it would be an excellent pairing.
If you are looking for something warm and comforting on a chilly winter night, you can’t go wrong with pasta. Add in pumpkin, sausage, sage, and chestnut?! Divine. Heck, you could use it as a wonderful Valentine’s Day dish, for those who are so inclined! What is more romantic than to indulge in something a little Italian?
Homemade Chestnut Flour Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sausage Sauce
Chestnut noodles – ingredients (recipe from here)
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp (125g) tipo 00 flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour)
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp (125g) chestnut flour
2/3 cup (113g) semolina
3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sauce – ingredients
1 lb Jimmy Dean Sage Pork Sausage (mild/Italian or hot pork sausage would also be delicious)
1/2 big sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp chopped sage
Two dashes nutmeg
Two shakes crushed red pepper
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
Optional: 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Making the noodles
Whisk together flours in a large bowl then make a well in the center. Add egg yolks, eggs, and oil and mix with your fingers. Knead until it feels silky and smooth, about 5 minutes. It will be very sticky at first. If it’s not coming together or still feels really dry after a couple minutes of kneading, add water 1 Tbsp at a time. The dough is ready when it comes together in a smooth mound and it gently pulls back into place when you stretch it a bit with your hands.
Shape dough into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.* After 30 minutes, cut into 4 pieces. Keep pieces covered when not rolling. Shape a piece into an oval wide enough to fit the width of your pasta roller. Set the roller to the widest setting. Lightly flour your work surface and use it to lightly flour the oval piece of dough. Pass the dough through the roller. Lightly dust the dough again and brush off any excess. Pass the dusted dough through the widest setting again. Set roller to next narrowest setting and pass the dough through twice, dusting with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the rollers.
Fold dough in half lengthwise over itself and cut about 1/4 inch off both corners at the fold. (This helps to make an evenly wide sheet of dough.) Pass twice through widest setting again, then pass once or twice through each progressively narrower setting, 2 and 3. I stop at 3 for fettucine. Run the sheet through the fettucine cutter on the roller, then curl into a nest onto a floured cookie sheet and sprinkle with flour. Cover, and repeat with remaining quarters of dough. Let rest until ready to boil.
Directions for sauce (once noodles are resting in nests on the cookie sheet and ready to be cooked)
Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
Brown sausage in a large pan over medium-high heat, about 7 minutes.
Spoon out some fat, but make sure about 2 tablespoons remain.
Reduce heat to medium and add chopped sage, stirring to coat with the rendered fat.
Once sage is fragrant (~1 minute), add onion and sauté until soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
Add garlic, nutmeg, and red pepper and cook 2 more minutes.
Add pumpkin puree and stir until well-mixed. Turn heat to lowest setting.
(It will be rather thick and not terribly sauce-like at this stage, but don’t worry. Pasta water (or cream) is coming.)
Add chestnut pasta to boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes (or according to directions for store bought pasta), aiming for tender but still chewy.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Add reserved water (or 1 cup of half and half / heavy cream) to pumpkin mixture and stir until incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add drained pasta to pan and stir with tongs to make sure noodles are well-coated with sauce.
Serve topped with healthy gratings of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.
Serve alongside a bright, acidic salad, crusty bread, and whatever wine you prefer — red is my favorite with sausage (a Willamette Valley pinot noir, obvs), but I prefer a buttery white with pumpkin (La Crema Chardonnay, obvs). Either one would work like a charm with this dish. YOU DO YOU, BOO.
*You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead of time. Once you get to the disc stage, cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. On the night you’re making dinner, remove dough from refrigerator, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. The dough will be cool but not cold and you can then cut into fourths and proceed through the recipe as normal from there.