Fall is the perfect time of year for cozy nights in, and what goes better with a cozy night in than a big bowl of pasta? This Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is the perfect recipe for a fall night in, as it's creamy, comforting, takes only 20 min to make, and is made with real pumpkin, butter, sage, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and pasta of your choice!
It took me a long time before I started using pumpkin in savory dishes. For some reason pumpkin always inspired me to make sweet treats like pumpkin donuts, but that was such a mistake because you can make some amazing savory dishes using pumpkin. This sauce is proof of that!
Why you will love this recipe
- Creamy. If you love creamy sauces then this one will hit the spot.
- Perfect for weeknight dinner. This sauce is so easy to make and takes only 20 min to make.
- Simple ingredients. Requires only affordable and easily accessible ingredients.
- Different. The usual pasta sauces like tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, Alfredo, or bolognese can get boring, so trying something different and new can be fun!
Ingredients & substitutes
Butter. I recommend using unsalted butter because that way you can better control how salty your sauce is.
Gluten-Free Flour. The flour is used to thicken the sauce. I recommend using my homemade gluten-free flour blend or using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour.
Garlic. I recommend using fresh garlic, however, you can also use garlic powder.
Milk. I recommend using full-fat milk, however, you can use any milk of choice. If you want to make it dairy-free you can use vegan milk like almond, oat, or soy.
Canned pumpkin puree. If you can’t buy canned pumpkin puree, you can make it yourself using a fresh pumpkin. Check this recipe to see how easy it is! However, you can also use sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree.
Natural cream cheese. If you want to make this sauce dairy-free, you can use vegan cream cheese.
Ground Cinnamon. You might think it is strange to use cinnamon in a savory dish, but trust me it goes so well with the rest of the ingredients.
Ground Cayenne. This pasta sauce has a very mild flavor so adding a bit of heat will give the flavors a nice balance.
Chopped fresh sage leaves. The earthy flavor of the sage pairs so well with the pumpkin. I recommend using fresh sage, however, if you don’t have any fresh sage you can also use dried.
How to make this sauce
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour, then whisk constantly until it turns a golden color and smells nutty. Slowly pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, whisking constantly to smooth any clumps. Increase the heat to medium-high, then let cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens (about 8 to 10 minutes). This step is very similar to making a béchamel sauce.
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the pumpkin, cream cheese, salt, pepper, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Continue whisking until the cream cheese melts and you have a smooth, rich sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Add the parmesan cheese and stir one more time. Mix it with your favorite pasta and top it with more parmesan cheese.
The best type of pasta for this sauce.
I like using gluten-free spaghetti from Barilla, however, fettuccine, rotini, or panne pasta will work just as well!
You can store the leftover sauce in a Tupperware container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze this sauce in a zip bag or freezer-friendly containers for up to 3 months. To reheat it, add a little bit of water to the container and then microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your serving size. Stir every 30 seconds.
What to serve with pumpkin pasta?
This pumpkin pasta dish is great on its own, however, you can serve it with gluten-free dinner rolls gluten-free garlic knots, or meatballs.
Yes, of course, you can make homemade pumpkin puree it's very easy just follow this recipe! You can also use sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree.
Yes, you can! Simply substitute the butter, milk, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese for a plant-based alternative.
More Weeknight Pasta Dishes
- Beet Pasta Sauce
- Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Spinach Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta
- Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 8 ounces gluten-free pasta of choice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups milk (or vegan alternative)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup cream cheese (or vegan alterantive)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese (or vegan hard cheese)
- 3-4 leaves fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and whisk constantly until it turns a golden color and smells nutty. Slowly pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, whisking constantly to smooth any clumps. Increase the heat to medium-high, then let cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens (about 8 to 10 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the pumpkin, cream cheese, salt, pepper,sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne. Continue whisking until the cream cheese melts and you have a smooth, rich sauce. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Add the parmesan cheese and stir one more time.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and gently toss to combine.
- Top with parmesan cheese and serve while it is warm. Enjoy! 🙂
I will definitely try this recipe and MAKE it low fodmap friendly, garlic is not an option and NO lactose in the milk. ☺️