I love how food can reflect the seasons and this creamy pumpkin pasta is all about Autumnal cosiness. A creamy base with lightly charred roast pumpkin mixed in. The sauce is flavoured with garlic, tomato paste and lots of parmesan. It is a super delicious and cosy dish and the time it takes to roast the pumpkin is worth it, I promise.
Hi! I am giving this sauce a big update as I wanted to change up the recipe slightly. It was not a tough chore having to re-make it, this is one of my favourites as I just LOVE roasted pumpkin.
It's coming into Spring here in New Zealand but so many of you are in Fall and this just embodies all the Fall flavours so perfectly. Cosy and comforting. This sauce is actually delish any time of year in my books.
I know in the Northern Hemisphere canned pumpkin pureé is the norm for this sort of dish, it's not really a thing here! I prefer the flavour of roasting the pumpkin myself. The charred edges add such a wonderful depth of flavour to this creamy sauce, it's 100% worth the effort.
Pumpkin - use whatever variety roasts well, they are called different things in different countries!
Sage - The sauce starts with making a sage butter with the leaves then put aside for serving. It's totally optional.
Vodka - This is absolutely optional so don't worry at all if you don't have any. Vodka is used a lot in pasta sauces. It adds flavour but also helps bind ingredients together in the sauce.
Tomato paste - It rounds out the flavour of the sauce.
Cream - I use single cream (it's called light cream in the USA) in this recipe as the pumpkin makes it quite thick. This sauce definitely needs the pasta water to help thin it out.
Parmesan - Try not to buy pre grated parmesan it's usually full of horrible additives. Get a microplane or use the star side of your box grater to grate it finely.
Lemon juice - I always suggest using fresh lemon juice in my recipes, it can't be beat! It adds much needed acidity to this dish.
Salt and pepper - Pumpkin is pretty sweet so don't be afraid to really dial up the seasoning in this sauce.
Why do I need to roast the pumpkin first?
I know in other countries pumpkin puree ready bought is really popular but it isn't a thing here in New Zealand. I have always roasted my pumpkin for dishes like this. It does take much longer but I promise you it's worth it.
Roasting anything brings out so much more flavour and naturally helps the caramelisation, enhancing it's sweetness. I like to roast it long enough so that the edges are charred, it adds a wonderful depth of flavour.
If you really don't have time for the roasting then substitute 1 cup pureé.
I know the recipe looks like it had lots of steps but I promise, it's a really simple sauce to make!
- First you will get the pumpkin and onion roasting in the oven. The onion will cook quicker so watch it after 30 mins and take it out if getting too charred.
- Pureé the pumpkin and onion until smooth, adding ½ cup water to loosen.
- Put the pasta on to cook in well salted boiling water.
- Start the sauce. Melt the butter and fry the sage until crisp and the butter is lightly browned.
- Set the sage aside on paper hand towels.
- Add the garlic to the butter and sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, whisking into the butter.
- If using add the vodka an reduce down slightly.
- Add the pumpkin mixture, cream and ½ cup pasta water. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the parmesan in a few lots, letting it melt in between each addition.
- Add the lemon juice and season to taste, don't be shy!
- Add the cooked pasta in and let it gently bubble for a minute or so.
- Serve with extra parmesan and the crisp sage on top.
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta.
I couldn't make a sauce without it. I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY.
Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
What pasta shape is best for this sauce?
I hate rules, use whatever you love! I have used a dried fusilli corti because it's one of my new favourite discoveries. Any shape, fresh or dried will be delicious!
I am super passionate about hand rolled shapes. If you are really new to pasta use my semolina pasta dough to make some hand rolled gnocchi sardi, the easiest shape EVER.
If you absolutely must then yes! You'll need 1 cup of it.
The pumpkin makes this sauce quite thick so go for a single or light cream. Heavy, double or whipping creams will be far too thick here.
Yes definitely, just leave it out if you wish. It adds a touch of flavour but mostly gives the sauce a little shine and helps bind the sauce ingredients together. It's absolutely fine without.
A note on serving size!
Look, I like my pasta REALLY saucy OK?! I have put this for two but it could easily stretch to 3 or 4 so just add more pasta if you need. I allow 100g dried or 150g fresh per person. Pasta water is really your friend here so use as much as you need to make it go further.
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this creamy pumpkin pasta then check out my recipe section for all sorts of delicious sauces and pasta techniques. For another Fall inspired plate then you must attempt my roast pumpkin agnolotti, it's a process but so fun to make. For a cosy creamy meal then make my Creamy Leek Pasta, it's one of my favourites. My Red Wine Risotto is also perfect for this time of year.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print