Holiday Pasta with a Pumpkin, Mascarpone Sauce & Toasted Walnuts

I first made this delicious pasta dish during a cooking class at Alla Madonna del Piatto in Assisi, Italy.  The dish has been slightly modified to include pumpkin puree and mascarpone cheese for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I used Fusilli pasta in my recipe, but feel free to modify as you see fit.  The sausage ragu sauce is really the star of this dish.


Sausage Ragu:

3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, Sliced Thin

1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, Casing Removed 

1 Cup White Wine (I use Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)

½ Cup Heavy Cream

½ Cup Mascarpone

½ Cup Pumpkin Puree

½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated                                          

Salt & Pepper to Taste


1 lb. Fusilli Pasta

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Fresh Herbs

Toasted Walnuts



Sausage Ragu: In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onion.  Saute for approx. 8 minutes, until the onion is soft and tender.  Add the Italian sausage and cook for approx. 10 minutes, until browned.  Remove any excess fat.  Add the white wine to the pan, and cook for approx. 3 minutes.  Add the heavy cream, mascarpone and pumpkin puree, and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan cheese.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.  Keep warm until pasta is ready.  Pasta: Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions (approx. 8-10 minutes for al dente pasta).  Before draining the pasta, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water.  Add the cooking liquid and drained pasta to the sausage ragu.  Mix well to combine the flavors.  When ready to plate, top with grated parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and toasted walnuts.