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Ravioli with Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce

Serves 4

This recipe for ravioli is quick, easy, different and very good. The pumpkin and sausage sauce can be used with other pasta, such as penne or ziti. Canned pumpkin is available all year long and perfectly acceptable, but you can use cooked and mashed fresh pumpkin when it is in season. Serve this on a busy weeknight or for a special occasion.

Ingredients

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the sausage. Brown the sausage, about 5 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it browns. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage to paper towels. Pour the grease out of the pan and then return it to the burner. Add the butter, then the onions. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the sherry and water; cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, cooked sausage, cream, basil, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir well, reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking water. Place the ravioli in the pan with sauce and gently stir to combine over low heat, about 1 minute, adding reserved water if needed to thin out slightly. Serve immediately, passing cheese separately.

Notes: Store-bought ravioli come in a variety of sizes, weights and fillings, including some whole wheat versions. Get whatever you prefer that equals about one pound.