One-Pot Wonders

One-Pot Penne With Sausage, Pumpkin & Fennel

October 10, 2017
4.3 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

This dish combines those classic fall flavors we all love together in a one-pot pasta concept for the ultimate cozy dinner factor. All of the ingredients get cooked together in a wide pan followed by the pasta and cooking liquid. Put the lid on and let the pasta cook to al dente. When you take the lid off, all that's left is to add final seasonings, and voila! Dinner. Revel in your quick autumn dinner genius. —Kelsey Tenney

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 links (about 3.2 oz) Italian hot sausage, casing removed
  • 1 leaf of sage
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or 1/4 cup lemon juice + 1/4 cup water)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups (8 oz) dried penne
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree, unsweetened
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino, plus more for serving
  • fronds from the fennel bulb, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. In a large, tall-sided frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When glistening and hot, add the prepared fennel, carrot, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel and carrot begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan, breaking it up and crumbling it as it cooks, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Add the sage to the pan followed by the wine. Use the wine as a deglazing liquid to pick up any bits at the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce slightly for two minutes, until it gets rather fragrant. Add the chicken stock and penne to the pan. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring the liquid to a low boil, and push any pasta that is sticking out into the cooking liquid. Reduce heat to medium low so that the liquid is simmering. Cover and cook 7 minutes.
  4. Add the pumpkin and lemon juice. Stir to combine and cover to cook another 3 or so minutes. Remove the lid and stir the pasta. It should be close to al dente, and the sauce should be thickening. Let the sauce continue to reduce slightly over the heat as you add the salt, pepper, and parsley to the pan. Stir to combine. Taste the pasta and ensure it is cooked through.
  5. Shut the heat off—the sauce will thicken as it sits a bit more. Add the cheese to the pan and stir in. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary. I added another 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  6. Roughly chop/tear the fronds from the fennel bulb (optional) and stir into the pasta. Serve with another grating of cheese and cracked black pepper with each bowl and enjoy immediately! If you want more acidity, squeeze a lemon wedge over the top when serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jaxmccaff
  • Mark Waite
    Mark Waite
  • Leora West Mauck
    Leora West Mauck
  • Empty Nester Recipes
    Empty Nester Recipes

15 Reviews

Jessamin February 5, 2022
This was fantastic day-of and as leftovers. I was hopint someone in the comments would address upscaling. Since nobody did, I will say it double easily. I used a full box of penne, a pack of 5 italian sausages, and doubled everything but the de-glazing liquid. Worked out great. Super creamy. I did use the full can of pumpkin which was slightly more than double, and two full fennel bulbs because we are fans of fennel (FOF!) and for whatever reason Trader Joes's sells them in twos. Low effort large reward meal.
Susan November 14, 2020
I'm enjoying a bowl right now. A great recipe - reward exceeds efforts. I used chick pea, GF pasta and it was a tad mushy. Will reduce cooking time on next round. Added kale to the pan when adding pasta to increase the nutritional value and the vibrancy of having the green color. Will add even more next time and more sage. I am often heavy handed with red pepper flakes and they were yummy here. Will make again. Thank you for such an easy, satisfying dish.
Jaxmccaff June 22, 2020
I will admit, I was skeptical of the flavor combo but with all the great reviews, decided to try it. What a winner!! This was easy and delicious and so creamy thanks to the pumpkin. I will absolutely make this again
Jaxmccaff June 22, 2020
I will admit, I was skeptical of the flavor combo but with all the great reviews, decided to try it. What a winner!! This wa easy and delicious and so creamy thanks to the pumpkin. I will absolutely make this again
Kate H. October 3, 2019
This was a fantastic, easy, flavorful dish that I’ll be adding to my regular rotation. Per some other reviews, I added 1/2 an onion, and I used a full bulb of fennel. Cooking time was spot on and left my sauce creamy without my pasta getting mushy, a bummer I’ve encountered in other one-pot pastas.
Mark W. March 5, 2019
Factoring prep and cook time, cost of ingredients, and flavor delivered, this is the best recipe on this website. Fight me.

I use .3 oz. of sage (chopped) and a $12 bottle of pinot grigio.
cashaww January 8, 2018
We are vegetarians, so no meat, but, more importantly, what is missed by not adding the Fennel? I will use better than broth, in place of the Chicken broth.
BeansNFranks December 14, 2017
This was great! Flavorful and kicky from the spicy sausage. I added way more sage, and it could have used more. I also added a large shallot. A bit of nutmeg would have been good too. Will def make again this winter.
Leora W. December 13, 2017
Generally, we really liked this dish! A few notes:
- used Tinkyada GF pasta: worked great
- used turkey sausage: worked great

My main note is that the flavor was much too bright for a wintry dish. Next time, I plan to:
- add a small onion along with fennel and carrot
- use mild Italian sausage (even with the calming pasta and pumpkin, there was too much heat for my kiddos; I already omitted the chili flakes)
- use 1 TBSP of lemon juice, not 2
Sid S. December 12, 2017
Hi Kelsey! Lovely article. Would love to have you as a member of the 6ya community.

6ya is looking for experts in Italian cooking (and a few other cuisines). Experts get paid for every call they take, as well as a $100 sign-up bonus.

Visit to learn more and apply. Do share with your friends and colleagues.
Brynn W. December 8, 2017
I don't know what happened but this was completely dead on arrival for me. I bought high quality ingredients and followed instruction. I had a much easier time getting the pasta to cook than with other one-pot pasta recipes in the past, however the flavor was so flat, unappetizing even.
Empty N. December 6, 2017
This technique works for all pasta methods - I just made spaghetti and meatballs in one pan (more flavor, less dishes)
TBB December 4, 2017
This is so, so good. We just made it tonight and it was phenomenal.
cayt November 30, 2017
My family are (sadly) not pumpkin eaters (or any other winter squash). What would be good in place of the pumpkin?
HopeSprings December 2, 2017
They won’t be able to tell it’s pumpkin. A lot of vegan recipes substitute puréed squash or pumpkin for cheese sauce. It just adds a creamy texture without all the fat. If they have allergies you can use any kind of puréed squash.