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.
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.
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 pounds Italian sausage (I use a mix of sweet and hot), casings removed
- 3 cloves (1 tablespoon) garlic, crushed or minced
- 3 cups chicken or garlic broth
- 1 pound Zucca (pumpkin-shaped pasta - see Jeff's Tips)
- 1 cup grated or shredded Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 1 (5.2-ounce) package Boursin, (6.5-ounce) tub of Alouette OR 1/2 cup Garlic Herb Cheese
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (I use Libby's)
- 1-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (see Jeff's Tips)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, plus more for topping
- Toasted pumpkin seeds, for topping (optional)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spoon into bowls and top with additional cheese, a light sprinkling of nutmeg or even some toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.
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!
Shannon Henry Sr.
TJ’s has the pasta made from
pumpkin. Would you still use the canned pumpkin?
This is a total home run. My whole family loved it. We will definitely be eating this year round!