This pumpkin pasta sauce is quick, easy, and cozy. Three of my favorite things. It's silky smooth from the pumpkin puree and the cream, and gets added boosts of flavor from the savory goat cheese and the fresh sage we're going to top it with.
I've been making this pasta in the fall for the last few years, and it's so incredibly satisfying. It's perfect for those fall nights when the weather is just starting to turn, and you want to feel elegant without the effort (don't you love those meals?)
Pumpkin pasta sauce is creamy, decadent and delicious. It's also really easy with only a few ingredients.
Why You'll Love this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- It's one of those meals that feels fancy because of the fun ingredients: pumpkin, goat cheese and sage.
- But in reality, it takes about 20 minutes to whip up, and like six ingredients.
- It's also so cozy and comforting!
- You can use it as a main or an indulgent side dish.
- It's definitely a different flavor profile than other pastas, making for a fun new experience.
- You can customize it! Finding it a bit bland? Add hot pepper flakes. Need some more texture? Toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Swap the sage for rosemary or fresh oregano. You do you!
The ingredient list is small, but packs a punch. You can definitely adjust according to your tastes!
- Pasta: I like fettucine or linguine for this one, but you can definitely use any shape you want.
- Garlic: always
- Pumpkin puree: NOT pumpkin pie filling, that would be...something else entirely.
- Heavy cream: it's going to carry the pumpkin and add some lovely texture to the sauce.
- Salt and pepper: Salt is a MUST in this recipe. It's the only way to bring out the mild pumpkin flavor
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: they make everything so cozy.
- Goat cheese: adds a delicious salty and savory component
- Fresh sage: you have to with pumpkin. I think it's a law.
How to Make Pumpkin Pasta
Ok, so let's make this pumpkin pasta sauce step by step. It's pretty easy and very fast, so stick with me.
Sautee your garlic in olive oil in a pan (cast iron skillet would work great here too!) over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is just starting to get fragrant and soft.
Add the pumpkin puree and give the whole thing a stir, letting the puree mingle with the garlic.
Add the heavy cream, and whisk with the puree. Keep going until it's smooth.
Add the spices and salt and pepper. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SALT IN THIS RECIPE. I cannot stress this enough. Add the salt, taste the sauce and then adjust. I advocate for this method in all of my pastas, but when you're cooking with pumpkin it's even more important.
Add the goat cheese, and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.
Add the pasta water, and the pasta. Toss to combine.
Garnish with fresh sage and more goat cheese (parmesan too if you want!)
Pumpkin has such a mild flavor, it goes well with all kinds of different flavor combinations. If you're looking to make it a little more hearty, definitely add your favourite protein. Swap out for a different kind of cheese. And seeds and nuts add an amazing texture element at the end of the dish. Try out some of these ideas:
- Pine nuts
- Parmesan cheese
- Hot pepper flakes
Make it Without Cream
If you want to make it without the cream, that's totally doable. Just swap it out for ½ cup of vegetable broth and a half cup of pasta water so you can keep that starchy goodness in the sauce.
Storage and Reheating
Keep any leftovers of this pumpkin pasta sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
When reheating, gently warm in in a saucepan on the stove. Add a little water, broth or cream to loosen up the sauce again.
I've definitely never tried freezing this - I tend not to with cream-based pastas. They just don't hold up well for me.
Other Awesome Pasta
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce with Sage and Goat Cheese
- 8 oz fettucine or your favourite pasta shape
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 C pumpkin puree
- 1 C heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt You might need more in this recipe. Taste and then season accordingly!
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ C goat cheese
- ¼ C pasta water
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh sage for garnish
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta one minute less than package directions. Reserve pasta water.
- Heat large sauce pan over medium heat. Add oil. Add garlic, sautee until soft, 2-3 minutes.
- Add pumpkin puree, and stir, 1 minute.
- Whisk in heavy cream until smooth. Bring to a simmer.
- Add salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste for salt, add more if necessary.
- Add goat cheese and melt.
- Add pasta water, then add pasta directly to the pan. Cook for another minute with the pasta.
- Serve in a large pasta bowl. Garnish with fresh sage and more goat cheese.