Creamy pumpkin pasta is a delicious and simple recipe that quickly comes together with pasta, grated Parmesan, pumpkin puree, and a touch of cream.
Before we go one step further, let me clarify that this recipe is not sweet, nor does it taste anything like pumpkin pie. Instead, the pumpkin puree and cheese give the sauce a rich alfredo-like texture that coats the pasta with a savory flavor.
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Ingredients
You can attribute the sauce’s silky, luxurious texture to pumpkin purée. It’s a lighter way to add a creamy texture or bulk up recipes without more fat or calories. Perfect examples would be this hearty turkey chili and pasta.
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe:
- penne pasta- swap for rotini, macaroni, or linguine
- olive oil
- minced garlic
- pumpkin puree- make sure it’s puree and not canned pumpkin pie filling
- pasta water
- half and half
- grated Parmesan cheese
Want to make this gluten-free? Swap regular pasta for your favorite gluten-free option. The milk and half and half can also be exchanged for unsweetened almond milk and canned coconut milk.
How to Make Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
Leftover canned pumpkin can be used in so many ways, but this recipe is a perfect pasta night fix. Compared to fettuccine alfredo, it’s much lighter, and the combination of sauce and pasta practically melts in your mouth.
Here’s how to make it:
- Cook the pasta
Cook pasta according to box directions, reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- Make the sauce
In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in oil over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin puree and half of the pasta water. Stir to combine until a paste forms.
- Add the dairy
Add the half and half, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. The sauce should be smooth.
- Dish up!
Toss in the cooked pasta and combine. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more of the reserved pasta water. Remove from heat and top with additional cheese. It’s ready to be enjoyed.
Make-Ahead Pumpkin Pasta
Want to prep this meal a few days before? You can easily make that happen, just follow the step-by-step directions below:
- Prepare the pasta and sauce as directed.
- Allow the sauce to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Toss the pasta with a ½ tablespoon olive oil before storing it in an airtight container and refrigerating for up to 4 days.
- To reheat, bring the sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. It should return to its silky smooth state. It should be lighter and slightly thinner than cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese.
- Stir the pasta into the sauce, toss to combine, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until heated through.
What is your favorite thing to cook with pumpkin?Print
Easy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
A luxurious and savory pumpkin pasta made with grated Parmesan, pumpkin puree, and a touch of cream.
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup half and half
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the pumpkin puree and half of the reserved pasta water. Whisk until a smooth paste forms.
- Stir in the half and half milk, nutmeg, and salt to the sauce bring to a simmer while occasionally stirring. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened and smooth.
- Once heated through, add in the grated Parmesan and whisk until the cheese is dissolved. Add the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Add a little more pasta water if your sauce is too thick. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and serve.
You can also use regular of gluten-free pasta and dairy-free milk instead of milk and canned coconut milk for the half & half at equal amounts.
- Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
- Calories: 428
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 650mg
- Fat: 11.7g
- Saturated Fat: 4.7g
- Carbohydrates: 63g
- Fiber: 3.7g
- Protein: 17g
- Cholesterol: 17mg
Keywords: pumpkin pasta, pasta recipe