Make-Ahead, Freezer-Friendly Pasta with Sausage & Pumpkin-Cream Sauce

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce and Sausage Sometimes...awkard things just happen. And over dinner the other night, Eric and I were reflecting about these moments…when your interaction just takes a turn for the weird. Our conversation started with a mishap Eric had last week as he was walking into the parking garage after work. Apparently he’d had his head turned around while holding a door for a fellow walker and then proceeded to basically T-bone a parked car at full walking speed.

I may have laughed so hard that water came out of my nose. (Also, I would pay like $500 to have that security camera footage.)

Once I stopped laughing and got my breath back, I responded by asking…”Did I tell you about what happened in church last Sunday?”

Somehow, I hadn’t.

Here’s how it went down. 

Minneapolis is so full of snow that the government has enacted special winter parking restrictions…which basically mean, you can only park on one side of most streets…until April. (This winter is no joke). It also means, that when you go to our church, you may have to park several blocks away.


So last week, Eric and Owen dropped Elsa and I off so we wouldn’t have to schlep her giant carseat down three blocks of icy sidewalks. So, I got Elsa inside, threw on my Moby wrap, and reached down to get her out of her carseat. Kneeling, I got her all tucked in to the wrap, tying it to tighten it, and then realized I was kind of stuck.

Let’s just say that the last nine months of pregnancy used up all of the core strength I once had. I couldn’t really lean forward to use my hands to aid in my rise…because Elsa was in the wrap, and leaning forward just doesn’t really work.

So, I looked up. And walking towards me was a guy. We’ll call him B. We’re acquaintances, at best. In hindsight, he very well may not know my name. But B is a strong-looking guy, who has kids of his own, and I figured he’d helped his wife up plenty of times. Well, B was striding towards me. And so, I made eye contact, and kind of motioned with my chin towards my stuck situation, and reached my hand up.

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce and Sausage

He reciprocated by reaching his hand down…and then, I basically almost pulled him down on top of me as I tried to use his hand for leverage to get up. Apparently he’d been coming in for just a hand shake.

Somehow he didn’t fall. We completed our hand shake of horrors while I managed to get up. And then, not looking at his face, I mumbled an apology, and he, also avoiding eye contact, did the same. And then we parted ways.

It was terrible. But again, I’d love to have that security camera footage.

None of this has anything to do with this recipe. There is nothing awkard about this pasta dish. Except that, like me, at first read, you might think…sausage and pumpkin??? I know. But this meal was seriously delicious. Like so delicious that I doubled the recipe when I made it, intending to freeze half for post-baby. I froze a small portion of it, just to test its freezability…and then we proceeded to eat the entire doubled-recipe amount in like 3 days.

I was turned on to this simple but super flavorful recipe by Haley of Cheap Recipe Blog. I seirously love this blog and many of our go-to, favorite dinners come from it. Plus, her series on The $10 Food Day is genius: feed four people three meals + a snack, for one day, for only $10. Haley’s a fellow Minnesotan, and while we’ve somehow never met, with her love of food, especially cheap & delicious food, I’m sure we’d get along. (Except that I’d have to get over my jealousy of her food photography. Swoon.)

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce and Sausage

So thanks, Haley, for sending me this fantastic pasta recipe for our Make-Ahead, Freezer Friendly Meals series! We loved how simple it was: Italian sausage is added to a pumkin-cream sauce, with all sorts of other pasta-sauce goodness like sage, onions, garlic, and white wine. And this recipe really does freeze well. If you can save enough of it for later.

Make-Ahead, Freezer-Friendly Pasta with Sausage & Pumpkin-Cream Sauce

Make-Ahead, Freezer-Friendly Pasta with Sausage & Pumpkin-Cream Sauce

(recipe slightly adapted from The Food Network )

(yields 4 servings)

This easy pasta dish boasts a lot of flavor with the combination of Italian sausage and a pumkin cream sauce. I adapted the recipe by using dried sage instead of fresh and by omitting a 1/2 tsp. nutmeg because I hate nutmeg and its overpowering ways. This recipe freezes super well for a great make-ahead meal.


1 lb. pasta (we used penne)

1 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled & minced

1 onion, diced

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. dried sage

1 c. dry white wine (or cooking wine)

1 c. chicken stock

1 c. canned pumkin*

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

salt & pepper to taste

parmesan cheese to top, to taste


*This is less than one standard-sized can of pumpkin. You can freeze the remainder for a dessert or for a second round of this pasta!


Cook Pasta:

Boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Cook Sausage:

Brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Drain grease and set aside.

Prepare Sauce:

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Then add the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Increase heat to medium-high, and reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon, then salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce, stirring frequently.

Assemble Pasta:

Remove the bay leaf from sauce, and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over cooked pasta. Combine sauce and pasta, then garnish the pasta with lots of cheese if serving immediately.

To Freeze:

Combine pasta and sausage pumkin sauce. (Do not mix in cheese!) Allow to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. To serve, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat via stovetop or microwave.



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13 thoughts on “Make-Ahead, Freezer-Friendly Pasta with Sausage & Pumpkin-Cream Sauce

  1. Hey Liz! Yay – I’m so glad that you liked this recipe! Too bad (or maybe not?!) that it didn’t last longer.
    Thanks also for your kind words. feel the same way – like we’d get along! Maybe we’ll have to plan some food event sometime. I’m sure we’d have lots to talk about!
    I am enjoying reading about your first weeks and months as a mother of two. This particular story made me laugh out loud. That sounds like something that would happen to me :) I guess the most awkward moments make for the best stories, right?

    • They totally do! I say once spring is official, we get ourselves out to a restaurant patio with some good food and get to know one another for real :) Thanks again for the recipe!

  2. ‘Handshake of horrors’ had me burst out laughing! Seriously SO funny! But so is walking into a car! LOL!

    I think this sounds delish! I was super excited when I read ‘Pumpkin Cream Sauce’ and the sausage spices will be awesome with it! I can’t wait to try!!

    Seriously LOVING these freezer meals!!!

  3. See, money wraps ARE dangerous. Baby Bjorns are engaged in an upright position this cutting awkward baby-carrier moments by 2/3rds. Scientific fact. Love you!

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