Pumpkin, Bacon, and Sierra Nevada Tumbler Pasta Sauce


Serves: 4 – 6 guests as an entrée


6  ounce bacon, preferably applewood smoked, cut into lardons

1 each bay leaf, fresh (or 2 – 3 dried)

1 each onion, yellow, large, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)

3 tablespoon thyme, fresh, minced

½ teaspoon cinnamon, Ceylon, ground

8 each sage, leaves, fresh and cut into a chiffonade

3 each garlic, cloves, peeled and sliced

12 ounce Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale

16 ounce cream, heavy

15 ounce pumpkin purée, canned

Salt and freshly cracked peppercorns to taste

½ cup Asiago style parmesan cheese, aged and grated

1 pound pasta, like a Fettuccini or spaghetti style 


In a large pot, filled with water and enough salt to make the water taste of the sea, place over high heat to cook the pasta.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the bacon and the bay leaf.  Stir to cook the bacon evenly, while rendering out the smoky flavored fat.  Once the bacon is crispy, remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve.  Add in the chopped onions and half of the thyme leaves, giving the mixture a few pinches of salt.  Sauté the onions until they start to caramelize, about 8 – 10 minutes.  When the onions are a medium dark brown add the remaining thyme leaves, cinnamon, sage and garlic cloves, sautéing another minute, letting the garlic cook and the spices to release their  oils into the onions.   Deglaze the pan with ¾ of the Autumn Brown Ale, using a spatula scrape any fond (the brown bits on the bottom of the pan).  Add in the cream and pumpkin purée, stirring to combine.  Meanwhile, add the dried pasta to the boiling salted water and cook as the directions indicate, minus one minute resulting in pasta that is more al dente.  Let the sauce reduce for by about a third, about 7 – 8 minutes.  The sauce should be thick, but still viscous.  If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to get the right consistency.  Remove about two thirds of the pasta sauce, tasting and adjusting the seasoning if needed to a bowl or medium sized liquid measuring cup.  Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the remaining one third of the sauce.  Using tongs, toss the pasta to lightly coat with the sauce.  Next plate the pasta using the tongs and giving a light wrist twist to the mound as it hits the plate.  Garnish the top of the pasta with some of the reserved sauce, a good dose of grated Asiago cheese, some of the reserved bacon, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a lite drizzle of a grassy olive oil and a few fried sage leaves (optional).  Serve and pair this dish with the Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale.


As an alternative, mix the al dente cooked macaroni, ziti or fusilli pasta in all of the finished sauce and mix well.  Pour the pasta into a 9” x 13” oiled casserole pan and top with 2 cups of grated gouda or smoked gouda cheese, mixed with ½ cup of bread crumbs, such as panko and the reserved bacon.  Place into a preheated 400°F until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese on top has melted and starts to turn a golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Placing an emphasis on seasonal ingredients not only applies to food, it applies to pairing with beer as well.  Using the Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale, with its little smoked malt and full dose of melanoidin from all the caramel malts, this beer enhances the squash’s essence, while bringing the smoked bacon to the forefront of the palate.  Layering in the additional fall spices makes this pasta sauce a seasonal treat.

Issue: December 2012