Instant Pot Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

On a recent trip to the market, I recently discovered a pasta called Zucca (also known as Zuchette) and I was immediately taken with the fact that they are shaped like mini-hollow pumpkins! “I’m gonna make an outrageously tasty and easy Halloween/Thanksgiving-themed pasta,” I said. And that’s exactly what I did! Loaded with Italian sausage, pumpkin and creamy cheese, Pumpkin Sausage Pasta also has a touch of sweet to add to the savory. But don’t get scared! If you can’t find Zucca, any short-form pasta will work.

Spicy Sausage Pasta
Adding butter to Instant Pot
Begin by adding some butter to the Instant Pot and give it some heat.
Adding diced shallots to pot
Once melted, add some diced shallots…
Sautéing shallots
…and sauté for a few moments.
Now, it’s time for some sausage!
Breaking up sausage with wooden spatula
Add it to the pot and break it apart with a wooden spatula.
Adding garlic to pot
Of course, add some garlic to the mix.
Crumbled sausage
After a few minutes of sautéing, the sausage will be crumbled and lightly browned.
Adding broth to pot
Pour some broth in the pot…
Zucca pasta
…and the special pumpkin-shaped pasta that makes this recipe extra fun: Zucca! (But don’t worry, see Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card at the bottom if you can’t find it in stores or don’t want to buy it online).
Smoothing pasta out below broth
Add the pasta to the pot but DO NOT STIR! Simply smooth it out with that wooden spatula so it’s mostly submerged in the broth (it’s fine if some peaks above). Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
Stirring cooked pasta
When done, give the pasta a stir so it’s nice and tossed in with the sausage.
Adding shredded Pecorino Romano to pot
Add some Pecorino Romano or Parmesan and stir until melty.
Adding pure pumpkin to pot
Then, add a can of pure pumpkin to the pot…
Adding garlic herb cheese to pot
…along with Alouette, Boursin or my tasty version of Garlic Herb Cheese.
Stirring pot
Stir everything together real good…
Stirring pot
…until the pumpkin and cheeses meld into a gorgeous sauce!
Adding pure maple syrup to pot
Add some PURE maple syrup (the real stuff) to the pasta for a touch of sweetness…
Adding nutmeg to pot
…along with some ground nutmeg.
Stirring pot
Give it all one final stir.
Pasta in a bowl
Now comes the fun part – eating this festive creation! Spoon some into bowls and feel free to sprinkle on additional nutmeg and/or cheese (or even some toasted pumpkin seeds).
Man holding up bowl of pasta
BOO! This pasta is for YOU!
Man trying pasta
Give it a try.
Man looking shocked by how good the pasta is
And hooooo boy! This Spicy Pumpkin Pasta is so spooktacularly simple and delicious, it’s almost scary!
Instant Pot Pumpkin Sausage Pasta
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

Instant Pot Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

On a recent trip to the market, I recently discovered a pasta called Zucca (also known as Zuchette) and I was immediately taken with the fact that they are shaped like mini-hollow pumpkins! "I'm gonna make an outrageously tasty and easy Halloween/Thanksgiving-themed pasta," I said. And that's exactly what I did! Loaded with Italian sausage, pumpkin and creamy cheese, Pumpkin Sausage Pasta also has a touch of sweet to add to the savory. But don't get scared! If you can't find Zucca, any short-form pasta will work.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 8 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add the butter to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust to the More or High Setting. Once the butter's melted, add the shallot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the sausage and break it up with a wooden spatula while stirring often. As it begins to crumble, add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes longer, until the sausage is totally crumbled and slightly browned. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot often so the sausage doesn't get caked on.
  2. Pour in the broth and scrape the pot's bottom once more, ensuring it's nice and smooth. Add the pasta but do not stir. Simply smooth it out with the spatula so it's mostly submerged in the broth (it's fine if some peaks above). Secure the lid, hit Cancel and then hit Pressure Cook or Manual at High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done and give the pot a stir.
  3. Stir in the cheese until melty. Then, add the pumpkin, herb cheese, maple syrup (see Jeff's Tips), and nutmeg. Stir until all is combined into a beautiful, rich sauce.
  4. Spoon into bowls and top with additional cheese, a light sprinkling of nutmeg or even some toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Jeffrey's Tips

While I think Italian sausage is best, you can use any UNcooked sausage with the casings removed. To make this dish vegetarian, simply use a plant-based sausage or Impossible/Beyond meat or leave it out completely. Everything else remains the same.

If you can't find Zucca in the market, it's online here. You can also use any short-form pasta such as medium shells, elbows (small or large), bowties (farfalle), rotini, gemelli, ziti rigate, mezze penne, etc. Same 6 minute cook time for all.

When adding the maple syrup, start with 1 tablespoon and taste it. If you want more, add up to 1 tablespoon increments at a time (I wouldn't go more than 3 tablespoons total).

NOTE: If reheating any leftovers in a skillet over medium-high heat (or on Sauté on High/More in your Instant Pot), add a few splashes of additional cream and perhaps some more grated/shredded cheese and stir until creamy. If using the Zucca for your pasta, it may break it's shape while stirring the leftovers BUT it's actually awesome because it leaves you with these adorable individual crescents that still scoop everything up so nicely, while creating more pasta!

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