Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

published Sep 27, 2021
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Recipe

A quick, easy, and festive pasta sauce, perfect for fall.

Serves8

Prep10 minutes

Cook5 minutes to 20 minutes

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cavatappi noodles with pumpkin sauce,  in a white bowl
Credit: Perry Santanachote

This pumpkin pasta sauce gives you the autumnal awesomeness of pumpkin ravioli without actually having to make your own pasta. Instead of acting as the filling, the creamy pumpkin coats the entire surface area of each noodle strand.

But here’s the best part: This recipe is almost entirely pantry-based, meaning all the ingredients (save for the butter and cream) are probably in your cupboard or spice rack right now. Plus, there’s no need to whip out the knife or cutting board — all you need to prep this sauce is a blender. So what are you waiting for?

Is Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Similar to Fettuccine Alfredo?

The consistency of pumpkin pasta sauce is thick like Alfredo sauce, but without the help from cheese and with way less butter and cream. Pumpkin sauce also is without a doubt pumpkin-y and more savory, due to the addition of spices and herbs.

What Goes Well with Pumpkin Pasta Sauce?

Pumpkin pasta sauce goes well with any type of pasta. To really amp up the fall feel of this dish, top it off with the following:

  • Grated Parmesan
  • Crispy sage leaves
  • Brown butter toasted hazelnuts
Credit: Perry Santanachote

Can Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Be Made Without Cream (Vegan)?

The heavy cream really isn’t a star ingredient in this recipe. To make it vegan, simply swap out the cream for water or an unsweetened nut-based milk. For the butter, substitute olive oil or Earth Balance.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Recipe

A quick, easy, and festive pasta sauce, perfect for fall.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    crushed or diced tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pumpkin purée

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    apple cider or white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    dried rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    dried sage

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    heavy cream

  • Cooked pasta, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until melted, about 1 minute.

  2. Place 1 (15-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes and their juices, 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons apple cider or white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

  3. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until heated through and the flavors meld, 5 to 10 minutes. If the sauce has a faint tin-like aftertaste, cook for 5 to 10 minutes more. (The sauce will reduce more but will still be enough for 1 pound pasta.) Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and stir to combine.

  4. Toss with al dente pasta to coat, using a little reserved pasta cooking water to help loosen the sauce if needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Freezing: Portion out the sauce into 1/2-cup or 1-cup servings and freeze in airtight containers for up to 6 months.