Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

$2.20 recipe / $1.10 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.43 from 57 votes
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Do you ever get tired of plain old red sauce? …Yeah, no, I don’t either. But if for some reason you did want to try something new, this quick and creamy pumpkin sauce is a great way to switch up your pasta routine. I had a partial can of pumpkin purée left over from another recipe this week, so I borrowed the flavors from this old recipe for simple pumpkin soup and turned it into a creamy, comforting sauce. It’s so easy and so good.

This recipe makes about four “side dish” sized servings of pasta with creamy pumpkin sauce, or two big main dish servings. I have no problem just eating pasta and sauce for dinner, but if you wanted to round it out a bit, a little browned Italian sausage would go so very well with these flavors. Got some fresh spinach on hand? Toss a couple handfuls into the sauce for some nice color and extra dose of vegetables.

I made my creamy pumpkin sauce with butter, chicken broth, and cream, but it could easily be made vegan by substituting the butter with coconut oil, the chicken broth with vegetable broth, and the cream with full-fat coconut milk. Pumpkin and coconut go very well together!

Top view of a pot of Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce  with a wooden spoon

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Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

4.43 from 57 votes
This super simple creamy pumpkin sauce drenches your favorite pasta for a quick, warm, and comforting weeknight dinner.
Servings 2
Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée ($0.78)
  • 1 cup chicken broth* ($0.12)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder** ($0.03)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper ( $0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp half & half or cream ($0.19)
  • 8 oz. pasta ($0.70)

Instructions 

  • Begin boiling a large pot of water for your pasta. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and boil until al dente (7-10 minutes). Drain in a colander.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. Mince two cloves of garlic and add them to a large skillet with one tablespoon of butter. Sauté over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  • Add the pumpkin purée and chicken broth to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the nutmeg, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Stir in the spices and let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat while the pasta cooks (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Once the pasta is finished cooking and is draining in a colander, add the half and half or cream to the skillet and stir it into the pumpkin sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed (this will depend on the type of broth you use). Finally, stir the drained pasta in to the sauce and serve.

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Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon to make my broth, which is less expensive than canned or boxed broths.
**Chili powder is an earthy mild blend of spices, not ground spicy red peppers.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 548.75kcalCarbohydrates: 91.4gProtein: 16.75gFat: 13.1gSodium: 616.95mgFiber: 4.3g
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Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Close up of Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Top view of a bowl of Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce, sitting on a yellow chevron napkin with a fork on the side

 

Step by Step Photos

Garlic and Butter in pan on stove top, stirred with wooden spoon

Start by mincing two cloves of garlic and sautéing them with one tablespoon butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Sauté for only one to two minutes, just to soften the garlic up some and make it nice and fragrant.

Oh yes, and begin boiling the water for the pasta. The sauce will cook in the short amount of time that it takes the pasta to cook, so get that going first. Once the water boils, add 8oz. pasta, and cook till al dente. Drain it in a colander. Continue with the sauce as the pasta boils…

Pumpkin, Broth and Spices added into pan on stove top

Next, add one cup pumpkin purée (about one cup, you can actually use a little less or a little more and it will still work fine) and one cup chicken broth to the skillet. Stir until those two are combined, then add 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp chili powder, a pinch of cayenne, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Stir the spices in, then let the sauce simmer over medium-low while the pasta cooks (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken slightly as it simmers and some of the moisture evaporates.

Cream added into pumpkin sauce mixture in pan

Finally, once the pasta has finished cooking and it’s in the colander draining, stir two tablespoons of half & half (or cream) into the pumpkin sauce. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.

Cooked pasta added into pan with sauce and stirred with wooden spoon

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet and stir to coat it in the sauce. YUM.

Top view of. a skillet of Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce siting on a blue place mat

Some days you just need pasta, you know?

Side view of. a bowl of. Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce sitting on a yellow chevron napkin with a fork on the side

I like to add a little “sprankle” of fresh pepper over each bowl, too.

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  1. This recipe is fantastic!! I eat low carb, so I subbed out the pasta for ground beef. I also didn’t want to waste the rest of the can of pumpkin, so I added the whole can. I also used cinnamon instead of nutmeg. It turned out so yummy! I could eat the whole pan myself!!