Chef Bailey

By Chef Mark Bailey

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a time when family and friends gather to continue old traditions, start new ones, and create memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a day filled with love, warmth and gratitude. Growing up as one of the youngest in my family, I didn’t get to see my older siblings a lot, because they were fairly independent and often out and about doing their own thing. Thanksgiving was the one day where we all stayed at home – watching the Macy’s parade while prepping the family feast together. Those cherished, warm memories from my youth inspire me today—that food and love go hand-in-hand.

When we cook together and for one another, we’re doing so much more than sharing a meal: we’re sharing a bit of our hearts.

Even though Thanksgiving this year is going to be very different—with smaller tables and more Zoom calls—we can still find creative ways to stay connected to our loved ones even when we are miles apart. After leading a cooking demonstration for The New York Foundling’s Fall Fete, I’ve heard much about the special ways The Foundling is celebrating Thanksgiving this year.

In The Foundling’s Mother and Child Program, staff and young moms will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal, bringing together their own customs and cultural dishes. It’s also an opportunity for young mothers to create special traditions with their children that can last a lifetime. The same is true in The Foundling’s residences for people with developmental disabilities. Here, Direct Support Professionals and the men and women in Foundling homes will prepare feasts to enjoy together.

And as a chef writing about Thanksgiving, I would be remiss if I didn’t share a recipe!

You’ve got to try Sausage Pasta with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce (recipe below)! I love this dish because it’s the season for all things pumpkin, it’s the perfect comfort food, and it’s quick and easy to make! While your turkey is in the oven, you can whip up this dish in under 45 minutes.

No matter how we all celebrate Thanksgiving this year, or what food you prepare, let’s be thankful for the community around us. Even if we can’t be together in-person, our hearts can still bring us together around the table.


Sausage Pasta with Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce

Pumpkin Pasta

Ingredients
  • I pkg. bowtie pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 6-8 Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup hot water or pasta water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
Garnish
  • chopped parsley
  • grated parmesan
  • red pepper flakes
Cooking Equipment
  • Pasta Pot
  • Pasta Strainer
  • Cooking Utensils (Spoon, Knives)
  • Zester (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook pasta per box instructions until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water.  Drain pasta, rinse with cool water and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pasta pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until browned.   Transfer sausage to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Return pot to heat and add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add shallots and garlic.  Stir until onions become translucent and garlic fragrant.  Add pumpkin puree, half and half, parmesan and 1 cup pasta water.  Stir sauce while simmering until thickened (approximately 4-5 minutes).
  4. Add pasta and sausage to sauce and toss until well mixed. Season with salt to taste.  Add additional pasta water if sauce is too thick.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve warm garnished with parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and/or parsley.