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This pumpkin cream sauce is a delicious balance between savory and sweet. Toss your favorite pasta in it for an easy, comforting dinner for fall!
Creamy, savory, and a bit sweet, this pumpkin cream sauce for pasta has everything you want in a fall comfort dish.
It’s made with pumpkin puree, heavy cream, sage, white wine, and pecorino romano for a standout pasta sauce you’ll want to make on repeat.
Celebrate the pumpkin season with a bowl of your favorite al dente pasta drenched in this creamy pumpkin sauce. 😋
And for my friends who prefer their meals dairy-free, I got you!
I shared some alternatives for the cream and cheese in this recipe below, so you can also enjoy this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce with plant-based options.
What Is Pumpkin Cream Sauce?
Pumpkin cream sauce is a creamy pasta sauce made with pumpkin and heavy cream. You can think of it as an Alfredo sauce for fall with some extra tweaks.
Imagine if creamy pumpkin soup meets Alfredo pasta with all the comfort of warm mac and cheese. 😋
I don’t know about you, but whether it’s carbonara, Alfredo pasta, or mac and cheese, I’ll never refuse a plate of creamy pasta. The rich, thick sauce of these dishes is like a big hug for the soul.
And this pumpkin season, I thought, why not make a pumpkin cream pasta sauce that will give me the same experience? A big, cozy hug on a plate!
This sauce is super easy to make, and it even goes well with just about anything for a hearty weeknight dinner.
You can compare this recipe with our pumpkin sage pasta, which is made with coconut cream and fresh pumpkin puree. Anyone in the mood for an autumn pasta party?
Why You’ll Love This Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Recipe
- Comforting Fall Pasta Recipe: Is the autumn season giving you all the feels? Perhaps all you need is a bowl of al dente pasta and creamy pumpkin sauce! It’s rich, savory, a bit sweet, buttery, and cheesy; a true comfort food for the cold weather.
- Perfect For Busy Weeknights: You can make this pumpkin sage cream sauce in a single pan! It’s also ready in under an hour for a fuss-free, hearty dinner when you just don’t know what to cook.
- Pairs Well With Everything: Whether with your favorite glass of wine or some leftover roasted meat and veggies, pasta with pumpkin cream sauce is a guaranteed hit on the dining table. You can even tweak the recipe with your favorite cheese or add more herbs and spices to tailor the sauce to your palate!
What Does Pumpkin Cream Pasta Sauce Taste Like?
Pumpkin cream pasta sauce will remind you of the creaminess of Alfredo and the richness of mac and cheese.
Pumpkin is the star of this sauce, and its fairly mellow flavor tastes amazing with sage, or as I call it, pumpkin’s BFF. In fact, we love their combination so much that we also have a pumpkin sage pasta recipe, remember?
But more than pumpkin and sage, everything else in this creamy pumpkin cream sauce did a wonderful job creating a harmonious blend of savory and sweet flavors.
From the butter onion base, white wine, and chicken stock to the heavy cream and cheese, they really made a seemingly simple sauce ten times better.
But of course, make sure that your pasta for this pumpkin cream sauce is perfectly al dente. Although if overcooked, mushy pasta with a rich and creamy sauce sounds like your jam, then I’m not judging. 😂
Ingredients For Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Olive oil – We’ll cook the minced onion in olive oil to bring out its flavor and soften it nicely.
- Butter – Creates a rich, buttery base for our pumpkin cream sauce.
- Onion – Just like when making a pumpkin soup, this pumpkin cream sauce needs a tasty, savory base like onion.
- White wine – White wine adds brightness to the creamy pumpkin pasta sauce. I recommend Sauvignon Blanc, especially for creamy sauce recipes!
- Pumpkin puree – We’ll use canned puree for convenience, but you can always make your puree from scratch using fresh pumpkin.
- Granulated sugar – Without sugar, this creamy pumpkin sauce pasta just tastes one-dimensional. It needs a boost of sweetness to balance the savory tones in the sauce.
- Chicken stock – You can use any stock you like. Vegetable stock is also lovely for this sauce.
- Sage – Sage just completes the flavor of this pumpkin cream sauce. You can also fry the leaves and sprinkle them on top of the dish before serving.
- Heavy cream – Makes the pumpkin sage cream sauce thick and just so comforting.
- Pecorino romano – The sharp flavor of this cheese goes well with the rich pumpkin sauce.
- Salt – You can experiment with different combinations of spices and seasonings for your pumpkin cream sauce. Just be mindful of salt because the stock might already be salty.
- Pepper – Besides black pepper, hot peppers are also delicious for this sauce!
- Rigatoni pasta – Feel free to enjoy your creamy pumpkin sauce with your favorite pasta. I personally prefer rigatoni because its shape stores up the sauce–like pockets of pure deliciousness. Don’t forget to also keep some of the pasta water!
Tools Needed To Prepare Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Pasta
- Saucepan for cooking the creamy pumpkin pasta sauce
- Wooden spoon for stirring the sauce as it cooks
- Pot for cooking the pasta
- Colander for straining the pasta
Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Pasta With Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Yes, you read that right: red peppers for pasta with pumpkin cream sauce!
I know it seems a bit different, but the kick from crushed red peppers tastes amazing with the richness of this sauce.
Looking to add some protein to your creamy pumpkin sauce pasta? Make the dish with chicken sausages for a hearty meal in under an hour!
Garnish your pasta in pumpkin sage cream sauce with more herbs, extra cheese, and, for some crunch, pine nuts! Other types of nuts also go well with the creamy pumpkin sauce.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp sage, minced
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1/2 cup pecorino romano
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Rigatoni pasta for serving
Tools you need:
STEP 1: Gather the ingredients for your pumpkin cream sauce.
STEP 2: Place a saucepan over medium heat and warm it up for a minute or two.
STEP 3: Add the olive oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the minced onion.
STEP 4: Cook the onions for 3 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
STEP 5: Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the white wine. Cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, usually about 5 minutes.
STEP 6: Cook the pasta according to package instructions or until al dente. Strain and reserve a cup of pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta.
STEP 7: Turn the heat to medium. Stir in the pumpkin puree and seasonings and cook for a minute or two or until the sauce thickens.
STEP 8: Add the chicken stock. Mix the sauce until everything is incorporated.
STEP 9: Add the sage and adjust the heat to medium-low. Allow the pumpkin sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
STEP 10: Add the heavy cream and cheese. Stir until everything is combined and the cheese is melted.
STEP 11: Add some pasta water to the pumpkin cream sauce. Do this slowly until the sauce is nice and creamy.
STEP 12: Taste and season your pumpkin sauce as needed.
STEP 13: Toss the cooked pasta with the pumpkin cream sauce. Serve and enjoy!
What To Serve With Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce and Pasta
Serve your bowl of pumpkin cream sauce pasta with easy sides like sauteed mushrooms or turkey bacon.
You can also top the dish with grilled chicken or leftovers from last night’s dinner. Maybe you have some beef strips?
For some vegan options, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed kale also pair well with pumpkin cream pasta.
Want to keep the plating simple? Just sprinkle some air fryer pumpkin seeds over your pasta before serving!
This pumpkin pasta packs a ton of flavor than what we usually expect from an easy weeknight dinner. So, why not bake your own bread, and surprise loved ones with a copycat salad to pair with this special dish?
Tips About Making Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- You may not need to use the full cup of pasta water to adjust the consistency of your pumpkin sage cream sauce. Add it slowly until the sauce is perfectly creamy.
- Instead of heavy cream and pecorino romano, you can also make this pumpkin cream sauce with whole milk and parmigiano reggiano! For dairy-free alternatives, opt for soy milk and vegan parmesan cheese.
- Once the pasta noodles are ready, do not rinse them! The starch on the noodles’ surface will help the pumpkin cream sauce cling on them. 😋
How To Store Pumpkin Cream Sauce
- Fridge: You can make this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce in advance to further cut the prep work. After cooling, transfer the sauce to an airtight container and use it within a week.
- Freezer: You can freeze your creamy pumpkin pasta sauce in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months. Then, thaw it overnight for reheating and serving the next day.
- Reheating: Reheat the pumpkin pasta sauce on the stove on medium-low. You can always add a splash of water or broth if it seems too thick. Then, serve over your freshly cooked pasta.
Can I Use Fresh Pumpkin For Pumpkin Cream Sauce?
Yes! If you’re cooking this pumpkin cream sauce pasta for fall, you might as well make your own puree from fresh pumpkin. Just cube and peel it, then boil the pumpkin cubes until tender.
The only catch when using fresh pumpkin for pumpkin cream sauce is to make sure you drain the excess liquid. Homemade pumpkin puree is typically more watery than the canned one.
How Do I Make My Pumpkin Sauce Creamier?
Additionally, allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes because it will continue thickening as it cooks.
FAQ About Pumpkin Sauce
Which herbs go with pumpkin cream sauce?
How do you add depth of flavor to pumpkin cream sauce for pasta?
- Gather the ingredients for your pumpkin cream sauce.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat and warm it up for a minute or two.
- Add the olive oil and butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the minced onion.
- Cook the onions for 3 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the white wine. Cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated, usually about 5 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions or until al dente. Strain and reserve a cup of pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta.
- Turn the heat to medium. Stir in the pumpkin puree and seasonings and cook for a minute or two or until the sauce thickens.
- Add the chicken stock. Mix the sauce until everything is incorporated.
- Add the sage and adjust the heat to medium-low. Allow the pumpkin sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and cheese. Stir until everything is combined and the cheese is melted.
- Add some pasta water to the pumpkin cream sauce. Do this slowly until the sauce is nice and creamy.
- Taste and season your pumpkin sauce as needed.
- Toss the cooked pasta with the pumpkin cream sauce. Serve and enjoy!
- Use the stock to thin out your sauce and the pasta water to thicken it. You may not need to use the full cup of pasta water, so add it slowly until the pumpkin cream sauce is perfectly creamy.
- You can also make this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce with whole milk and parmigiano reggiano instead of heavy cream and pecorino romano. For non-dairy options, try soy milk and vegan parmesan cheese!
- Do not rinse your pasta! We don't want to remove the starch on the noodles' surface because it will help the pumpkin cream sauce cling on them.
*This recipe was originally published on 11/2010 by Jaclyn. Notes and photos were updated on 11/2023.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 25g
* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.
Pumpkin soup is delicious, but there’s another way to savor the comforting pumpkin flavor this fall. And if you love pasta, you must make this pumpkin cream sauce ASAP!
This delicious sauce is made with canned pumpkin puree, white wine, sage, butter, heavy cream, and pecorino romano to give you comfort in a bowl.
It’s creamy, savory, and even a tad sweet: a symphony of flavors to boost your mood this pumpkin season!
What I also love about this creamy pumpkin pasta recipe is how easy it is to make. You can even cook the sauce in advance so it’s ready to be reheated on busy weeknights.
Just remember not to rinse your pasta noodles to help the sauce stick well.
Got leftover pumpkin puree? You can make a lot of yummy things with it, from condiments, and drinks, to desserts! Don’t believe me? Here are our faves: