Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

$2.20 recipe / $1.10 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.41 from 55 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

4.41 from 55 votes
This super simple creamy pumpkin sauce drenches your favorite pasta for a quick, warm, and comforting weeknight dinner.
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
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. I had leftover pasta as well as pumpkin purée. Came across this recipe and used them both.. I didn’t have half n half or cream handy, so garnished it with grated cheese. Loved it!!

  2. In a fit of autumnal fervor, I made this tonight. It was DELICIOUS! Even my husband—who is suspicious of vegetables in general and squash in particular—loved it. We topped it with a little crumbled turkey Italian sausage, and the spiciness played perfectly with the sweetness of the pumpkin. ❤️🎃❤️

  3. Delicious and great in a pinch for lunch when I didn’t want to run to the store. My half and half had gone bad but I had some goat cheese to use up. It was great! Creamy, filling, and tasty. Very easy to make.

  4. I was looking for pumpkin recipes that didn’t involve soup or sweet baked goods, and this was great. I grew a lot of pumpkins last year and still have quite a bit lurking in my freezer.
    I will be making this many times, thanks.

  5. Pretty good for a sauce you can probably make with just what’s already in your cupboard. I made this vegan by swapping the butter for olive oil and the chicken broth for veggie. Used unsweetened oatmilk creamer instead of half and half. Used a full can of pumpkin and about 3/4 cup broth for a bit thicker sauce. Was tasting pretty bland so I stirred in some cinnamon and nutritional yeast and that perked it up pretty well. Sautéed some kale to put on top. For a tasty 30-minute meal on a cold Sunday night that I didn’t have to run out and buy extra ingredients for, it got the job done!

  6. This was a good way to use up some leftover pumpkin puree. I didn’t have half & half or cream so I used some Greek Yogurt as the creamy element. If I were to make this again, I may add ginger to pump up the fall flavors a little.

  7. LOVED this recipe!! Now, I should first say I almost never follow a recipe exactly, and this was no exception. My family is super picky about meatless meals (unfortunately), so I added some ground Italian sausage as well as a couple of Italian sausage links (cut into small pieces). I subbed coconut milk for the half and half/heavy cream, and simmered one stalk of lemon grass in the spiced pumpkin broth mixture. We prefer our meals fairly heavily spiced, so I kept all the same spices and adjusted for our family’s taste. All our kids loved it, everyone went back for seconds, and my husband even requested that I bookmark this recipe. Keep the pumpkin recipes coming, we love them!❤

  8. I love this recipe. It’s a fantastic way to use up pumpkin puree from a can when the previous recipe only called for a small amount.  The seasonings can easily be adjusted to suit your tastes. I changed a few things, as didn’t have any half and half  or cream so at the end I added a bit of almond milk.  I also added some nutritional yeast that I had on hand.  I served this with angel hair pasta and some fresh cilantro since that I what I had on hand and the sauce compliments this pasta well in my opinion :)

  9. This sauce was like a broth. No idea how this looks thick and saucy in the photo. I had to scrap the whole thing and try to salvage this for a soup or something. Very disappointing…don’t recommend. 

  10. As written I thought this recipe was extremely bland. I ended up adding 2-3X more chili powder and cayenne pepper as well as red pepper flakes, Parmesan Cheese, Italian sausage, and spinach. On the plus side, this recipe was very quick and easy to make and made enough to have leftovers! 

  11. I love this! I added a little brown sugar at the end to bring out the sweetness in the pumpkin and then served it with parmesan cheese, which gave it that saltiness that reminds me of Mac and cheese except a tad healthier!

  12. This is delicious! I made it yesterday and the one tweak I made was sauteeing the pumpkin for 3-4 minutes before adding the chicken broth. It caramelizes the sugars a bit and deepens the pumpkin flavor. We ate this with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a fried egg the first day, and topped leftovers with red pepper flakes and Pecorino Romano the second day. The pasta was savory, creamy and pumpkinny both ways!