Great Pumpkin Pasta

comments: 77

Did you watch that show on PBS last night about the people who grow giant pumpkins? Oh man! It was emotional! I had no idea. I almost cried, myself (and let me just say, there was much discussion of crying). That lady who named her pumpkin Shasta? Oh, my heart. So good. I love shows like this. The best kind of TV. And it really did make me want to try to grow a giant pumpkin. But apparently you need a yard the size of a football field and absolutely no life, since you have to spend about four or five hours a day out in the garden taking care of your pumpkin and miss your daugher's soccer games. Since the 'kin can grow up to forty pounds a day. I have the no-life part (at least lately, since I never leave the property), so I could do that, but I don't have the yard for it. And let me tell you, if you, like me, thought growing a giant pumpkin seemed like "fun," you've got another think coming. Because when you watch this show, you will see that it looks like about the most stressful undertaking ever. Mice, woodchucks, beetles, hurricanes, and PATCH SABOTAGERS are all enemies of the great pumpkin. The lady describing her husband running around screaming and chasing the woodchuck was just hilarious. Sort of.

After I watched the show, I went to bed, and early this morning I had the weirdest dream that I was growing a secret giant pumpkin in the bathtub behind a white frosted shower curtain. This was in my old bathroom in my old apartment in the "brown box" in Rock Island, Illinois, where everything in the bathroom was bright white. I would never look at it, and then one day I did look at it and it was pale orange and bulging out of the tub (not attractive — giant pumpkins are actually pretty gruesome-looking, the poor beasts). I got very nervous and started to worry how I was going to tell Andy about it, and was wondering if the bathtub and 'kin was going to crash through the floor, and then what would the landlord say (I am terrified of landlords and whenever I had one would live in constant fear of getting yelled at by the landlord), and how would we get it out since it seemed to be sort of encasing the tub in its own warty folds. And then I woke up. THANK GOODNESS!!! Phew. Close one.

I woke Andy up and told him about the pumpkin show and the dream. It was hard to explain how obsessed I had become with the pumpkin in the past twelve hours just like the people on the show said would happen. Disturbingness!!!

I asked Andy to dictate one of the recipes he frequently makes in the fall. He has a few seasonal recipes in his repertoire that he makes, and I never make them. Because they're better when someone else makes them for you. This is one of those. Serve this with a big spinach salad and crusty French bread. Super great.


Great Pumpkin Pasta, as told to [me] by Andy Paulson, but originally from a recipe from Country Living magazine a couple of years ago

1 c. whipping cream or heavy cream
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
20 leaves of fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 links of mild Italian sausage
1 lb. rigatoni

The first thing you should do is find a little 9" x 9" . . . glass [metal] . . . thingy. So you can broil your sausage in it. Put the sausage in your pan, and put it in the oven and turn the broiler on.

Grab a [medium] pot. Pour your cup of cream in it, put your pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese in, mix it together, and chop and add the sage, the salt, and the pepper. What I do is get the cream and stuff going and then I go out to the garden and cut myself some sage. Put that all on medium heat, bring to a simmer, then turn it down and leave it on a low simmer.

In the meantime, get the water boiling. When the water's boiling [please salt it, says Alicia], put the rigatoni in and stir. Look at the sausages and see if they're browned on top. If they are, use tongs to flip them. When the pasta's done, drain it, and return it to the pan. Add the cream sauce and stir it [gently]. Remove sausage from broiler and slice it into bite-size pieces and add it to the pasta. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan cheese on top and serve!!!


Alicia, you had me trying to smother my laughter because there are other people sleeping in this room.

Hilarious! I want to grow a giant pumpkin in my bathtub!

Happy Halloween, Alicia! Just wanted to pop in and say how tickled I was to see "you" in the new Hallmark magazine I was reading earlier this morning. I love the Memory Game. I still have mine from when I was little, and I've never seen one with images Ilike as much as the ones on my old one. Except maybe for YOUR idea - with kitties and favorite things printed onto fabric! I'm happy that your book release date is getting closer and closer!

Pumpkin Pasta; sounds most interesting. Heck, anything accompanied by crusty French bread is interesting.

I might just give it a whirl.

Happy Halloween.

Love your great pumpkin dream... your story is cracking me up!

The pasta sounds fantastic. Mmm!

Oh yes, we were watching too. I was actually inspired last year by the same show to buy some giant pumpkin seeds for my husband's Christmas stocking. We have an big field just to the North of our house, and he does love dearly to experiment with plant life. But did we even get a teensy, tiny little wee pumpkin? Nope. Apparently, the Great Pumpkin doesn't like living in the NW.

Aren't pumpkins just the best thing about Halloween?

Ooh, that sounds tasty. And much easier than pumpkin-stuffed ravioli. I may need to put that on the weekend menu.

This sounds so good. Your post made me laugh. How funny!

Mmm! That pumpkin pasta sounds delicious! I shall be trying that next week!

Happy Halloween x

I love this photo! The colors are really popping and it looks so fresh - super lovely :o) happy halloween!


hello fellow portlander. if giant pumpkins tickle your fancy, perhaps next year's giant pumpkin regatta would interest you. here's the flyer i found online:

i had visions of it being like ascot or the kentucky derby with lovely people milling around in over-the-top hats, and it is not that...but it still looks fun!

I laughed and laughed at your pumpkin dream. Looks like the giant pumpkin is not in your future.
The pumpkin pasta recipe sounds marvelous. I may have to try it with one of my sweet pie pumpkins.

Disturbingness, indeed. Love the idea of a pumpkin in the bathtub.

And the pasta sounds awesome. If I didn't have other dinner pans, I'd make it tonight. Maybe I'll make it tomorrow, and tell the kids that the Great Pumpkin has been captured and put in my pasta. Wait - now THAT might be disturbingness.

Uh... dinner PLANS. Though I do have lots of dinner pans, too...

Yummy! I make a similar recipe with butternut squash.

I watched that too - amazing!!! Happy Halloween, Ms Alicia, Andy and Clover Meadow!

While checking my blogs, I just happened to be looking for a pumpkin pasta recipe for dinner tonight. Lo and behold you post one that looks delicious. Fate I tell you. Thank you!

Bonjour chère Alicia,
I've been reading you for almost 2 years and I love your blog. I received this tutorial by newsletter this morning and thought about sharing it with you and your friends.
It's cute and I'm thinking about making it for a friend for Christmas. Au revoir!

that recipe sounds delicious!

The pasta sounds great. I'll give it a try tonight!

Sounds good, but actually you're not suppose to broil in Pyrex. The glass pan will break in your oven.

I made pumpkin pasta last night too! mine was very earthy (and vegan) with whole wheat penne pasta and a crusty topping made from 7 grain bread.

I used to live in Portland, so I love seeing the pictures you post of the city and surrounding areas, I haven't lived there since '92 but I still get all misty over Portland :)

Pumpkin Pasta! Sounds wonderful. I will have to give it a try. I am totally with Sherry on this one, I want to grow a giant pumpkin in my bathtub too!
Have a wonderful day!

Alicia, this recipe sounds amazing. I just baked my first pumpkin last night and have tupperwares full that are just waiting for recipes like this one! We'll try it out this weekend.

Your pumpkin dream had me giggling with delight as I envisioned a huge pumpkin vine growing out of your bathtub!
The pasta sounds wonderful - perfect for a rainy Friday night.


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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at