This creamy pumpkin pasta with fried sage, mascarpone, and Parmesan cheese is the ultimate fall comfort food dish. It’s easy to make and vegetarian too.
When it comes to pasta, I love it all, but cream sauces are my achilles heel. I’ve got so many saucy pasta recipes I love, like my roasted mushroom stroganoff, cacio e pepe, creamy lemon pasta with ham and peas, and shrimp pasta with sun-dried tomatoes. This pumpkin pasta is just the latest addition to my creamy pasta obsession, and it’s perfect for fall.
Like any squash, pumpkin lends itself so well to savory dishes and this pasta is proof. With its fine ridges and hollow core, rigatoni’s nooks and crannies are an excellent vehicle for this savory pumpkin sauce. Mascarpone cheese thickens the pumpkin sauce with the slightest undertone of heat coming from a pinch of red pepper flakes. Sage-infused brown butter provides the ultimate warm, earthy bite, with Parmesan cheese enriching the sauce with a nutty, cheesy edge.
What’s in This Pumpkin Pasta
This easy pumpkin pasta is full of savory fall flavors and aromatics. Here’s what you need to make it:
- Rigatoni (or any other short pasta shape you like)
- Fresh sage
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- White wine—nothing fancy, but one you would drink
- Pasta water—starchy, salty water is an excellent thickener for the sauce
- Mascarpone cheese
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
This pasta comes together quickly and easily, with the sauce coming together in the time it takes to cook the noodles.
Cook your pasta. You know the drill, salt your water like the sea and cook it to al dente.
Fry your sage. Add your butter to a large saucepan. Once it has melted, add the sage and sauté until slightly crispy. Remove the sage using a slotted spoon and set aside where the leaves will crisp more as they dry.
Build your sauce base. Sauté the shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in the reserved browned butter until the shallot softens. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and then stir in the pumpkin.
Make it creamy. Add reserved pasta water to thicken the sauce and stir in the mascarpone for a sweet cream flavor. Once the mascarpone has melted, add the pasta and Parmesan and stir well to coat the pasta in the sauce. Serve it up with crumbled sage and more freshly grated Parmesan on top.
What Does Pumpkin Sauce Taste Like
While pumpkin may typically be associated with sweet flavors, this pumpkin pasta leans very savory, thanks to garlic, shallot, and Parmesan. The pumpkin and mascarpone lend a hint of sweetness and all of the flavors play so well together. It is absolutely addicting.
What to Serve With Pumpkin Pasta
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta
- The Best Garlic Bread
- Kale Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
- Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
- Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan
- Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine
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Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
- 16 ounces rigatoni
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup minced shallot
- 2 cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup pure pumpkin , (from a 15-ounce can)
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup mascarpone , (from 1 8-ounce container)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese , plus more for serving
- Fill a large pot with water for your pasta. Once the water is boiling, generously season with kosher salt and add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sage and sauté until slightly crispy, 2-3 minutes, scraping up those browned butter bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove the sage using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- To the skillet, add the shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and sauté until the shallot is softened, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Check the pasta which should now be al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water then drain the pasta but do not rinse. Add reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir in the mascarpone. Once the mascarpone has melted, add the pasta and Parmesan and stir well to coat the pasta in the sauce.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if desired. To serve, portion pasta in bowls and crumble reserved sage leaves on top, followed by more fresh grated Parmesan.
More Creamy, Cozy Pastas You’ll Love
- Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce
- Roasted Mushroom Stroganoff
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- Shrimp Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage
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