4 tbl. olive oil
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 c. chopped onion
10 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
3 tbl. chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/4 c. white wine
1 1/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
2 c. Chicken stock
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbl. salt (optional)
1 lb. penne, penne rigate, rigatoni, or tortiglioni
6 tbl. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large deep saute pan, heat 1 tbl. of the olive oil over high heat for 2 min. Add sausage and cook until brown, about 3 min. While it browns, break it up into bite-size pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off heat, and remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Cover and set aside.
Keep 1 tbl. of the oil in the pan, and discard the rest. Add the remaining 3 tbl. olive oil and cook over medium heat for 3 min. Add the onion, garlic, and sage and cook for 10 min, stirring well, until the onion and garlic start to brown. (If you like it spicy, sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.) Add sausage meat and cook for 2 min, stirring well. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook for 8 min, stirring well to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add pumpkin puree and cook for 2 min, stirring well. Add the stock (and cinnamon, if desired), bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water, with 1 tbl. salt added, to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Drain well in a colander and pour back into the pot. Add the sauce and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the Parmesan if desired, and serve.