Pasta with pumpkin sauce is a lighter alternative to recipes with heavy cream sauce. Make this easy pasta dish for dinner in just 20 minutes!
If you think pumpkin is just for desserts, wait until you try this recipe! Even better, it’s made with simple ingredients that are budget-friendly and easy to find in any local store.
Everyone should have an easy pasta dish on rotation, and I’ve got plenty to choose from!
Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
Bring a salted pot of water to boil, then cook the rigatoni according to the package directions.
Meanwhile on the stove, whisk together a roux and add in the milk a little at a time. Simmer until the mixture has thickened, then stir in the remaining ingredients until everything is silky smooth.
Spoon over the drained noodles and top with fresh Parmesan. Serve as is or with a side salad and a slice of crusty bread.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Add enough salt! Your pot of water should always “taste like the ocean” to give your dish plenty of flavor.
- Swap out the noodles. Rotini, cavatappi, bowtie, and even medium shells are all great options for pasta with pumpkin sauce. It’s important to have nooks and crannies to grab hold of all that creamy goodness!
- Use room temperature ingredients. Let the milk and cream cheese warm on the counter for about 30 minutes before you get started. This will prevent lumps and help the pumpkin pasta sauce come together smoothly.
- Check the label carefully. You want canned pumpkin puree, not pie filling, without any added spices or sugar.
- Want to feed a crowd? This recipe serves four, but if you need more servings, simply grab a larger pan and double or triple the amounts!
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Pumpkin Pasta Sauce FAQ
What else goes with pumpkin pasta sauce?
Jazz up this dish with some sauteed mushrooms, toasted pecans, or greens like kale or spinach.
Chopped rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey, or poultry sausage is a great way to make this meal more filling.
You could also use the sauce for veggie lasagna in place of marinara, or simply drizzle some over your favorite roasted vegetables.
How long do leftovers last in the fridge?
It should be good for 3 to 4 days when kept in an airtight container. For best results, I recommend enjoying it within a day or so since the texture can change over time.
What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?
Reheat this dish on the stove with a splash of milk for added moisture. Stir frequently until it is evenly warmed throughout.
You can also save some of the starchy water before draining off the rigatoni and use that in place of the milk. Just ladle out a cup or so and keep it in the refrigerator in a sealed jar or container.
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Pasta With Pumpkin Sauce
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree, not pie filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Optional: 1 cup shaved parmesan for serving
- Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Drain and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until fully combined. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add the garlic and continue cooking for one minute.
- Slowly pour in the milk, ½ cup at a time whisking constantly until each addition is fully incorporated.
- Once all the milk is added, continue cooking until thick and bubbly. About 5-10 minutes
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the pumpkin, cream cheese, sage, thyme, salt, cinnamon and pepper until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour desired amount of sauce over the prepared pasta, top with parmesan cheese and serve.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2021
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