Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gemelli with Sausage, Pumpkin, Spinach, and Caramelized Onions

Total Time: about 40 minutes
Makes 6-8 servings

1 lb good quality, mild sausage
1 lb dried gemelli
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4 C plus 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch sugar
10 oz spinach, washed, tough stems removed
4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 C dry sherry or white wine
1 C pumpkin puree
3/4 C light chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a teaspoon of salt and the pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized, about 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, boil a large pot of water for the the pasta. Season the boiling water generously with salt, add the gemelli, and cook until just al dente. Drain the pasta and keep warm while you make the sauce.

In the now-empty pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. You need about 2 tablespoons of fat left in the pot; drain off any excess or add more olive oil if you need it.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the sherry, turn up the heat and reduce by half. Add the chicken broth and pumpkin puree and stir to combine. Reduce the sauce until thickened, then add the spinach and cook until wilted. Throw in your butter, cooked sausage, caramelized onions, and pasta, and toss to combine. Taste for seasonings and add black pepper if you'd like. Serve with a crusty garlic bread!

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