Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is made with just 6 simple ingredients in 15 minutes! It’s a Fall comfort food powerhouse just waiting to happen in your kitchen. Yes carbs ~ but there’s plenty of veggie action in there too!
pumpkin Alfredo pasta is like a big hug in a bowl
Creamy Alfredo sauce is a dreamy pasta sauce on its own, but in fall we always zhuzh it up a bit with equally creamy pumpkin puree, and just a hint of spice. Makes the most amazing comforting meal ever in the time it takes the pasta to boil. (Just making sure you heard that ~ the meal is done from start to finish in 15 minutes!) Top it with fresh sage and toasted pine nuts, or not. Either way it’s pretty special.
what you’ll need
- pumpkin ~ we’re using a whole can of pumpkin here so there’ll be no annoying bits leftover.
- pasta ~ fettuccine is traditional, but there’s nothing traditional about this sauce, so go with what you love. I used bucatini.
- cream ~ ya gotta have it for Alfredo sauce.
- garlic ~ garlic, and a good amount of it, is one of the main flavors here, so don’t skimp.
- Parmesan cheese ~ I like nice moist shreds, but you can use the dry powdery stuff if you must.
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
the optional stuff
Only if you want to take your pumpkin Alfredo to the next level
- nutmeg ~ I think it enhances the pumpkin flavor.
- toasted pine nuts ~ you’ve heard me talk about these, here, and here. So good, and so easy. I consider them to be the vegan equivalent of bacon!
- frizzled sage ~ another crazy intense flavor I’ve talked about before. Just pop little shreds of sage in some hot oil in a frying pan for just a few seconds and they turn crisp and wonderful.
how it’s done
- Cook your pasta.
- While that’s happening heat butter in a large pan and sauté garlic gently so it doesn’t brown.
- Stir in cream, pumpkin, and a little nutmeg and let it get nice and hot.
- Remove from the heat and stir in Parm until it melts. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pop it back on the burner and drop in your cooked pasta along with a little of that hot starchy pasta water.
- Toss like mad.
- Eat like you mean it!
pumpkin Alfredo faqs
You can, but I have actually found that canned pumpkin puree usually has better flavor and texture than homemade! If you are using fresh pumpkin puree, make sure it’s well drained so it’s about the same consistency as canned pumpkin. You may not need to add as much additional pasta water if you use homemade pumpkin puree.
Yes, go for it! Just about any winter squash like hubbard, kabocha, or kuri, would be delicious. And anyway, the secret’s been out for a while that canned ‘pumpkin’ is not really pumpkin at all, but a mix of various squash which are sweeter and less stringy that actual pumpkin. Who knew?
If you’re looking to boost the protein content of this dish for a main course, I’d suggest chicken breast, crumbled sausage, or even a little bacon or pancetta. In each case, I would cook the meat separately, and add it to the dish at the end. If you’re using bacon, use some of that bacon grease for flavor.
Creamy sauces like Alfredo are best eaten fresh, but we found this sauce reheats fine in the microwave, or you can gently heat it in a saucepan on the stovetop over low/medium heat. You may want to add a small splash of water or cream to the sauce to account for the liquid absorbed by the pasta.
You might try using half and half, or even evaporated milk in place of the heavy cream. But remember, if you’re having this for a meal, it’s not that bad, especially when you consider it’s taking the place of traditional meat heavy menus.
Srsly, pumpkin Alfredo pasta is the best
Easier than mac and cheese, so much better than scrambled eggs, I think this must be the best emergency comfort food out there.
easy pastas perfect for Fall
- Breakfast Pasta Carbonara
- Kale and Pancetta Pasta with Lemon and Garlic
- Spaghetti Peperonata with Tuna and Olives
- Easy Pasta Bolognese Recipe
- Pasta with Radicchio, Bacon, and Walnuts
- Wild Mushroom Pasta with Hazelnuts
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
- 1 lb pasta (I used bucatini, but feel free to use any shape you like!)
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (about one 15-ounce can)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, optional
- 2 Tbsp fried sage leaves, for topping, optional (see how in the notes below)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, for topping, optional (see how in the notes below)
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Melt the butter in a large pan big enough to hold your pasta, and add the minced garlic. Sauté for just a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, but don't let it brown.
- Add the cream, the pumpkin puree, and nutmeg (if using) and whisk gently until everything is well combined.
- Heat the mixture until just simmering, and then, off the heat, add the shredded cheese, and salt to taste. Stir to melt the cheese thoroughly into the sauce, and then put back on low heat.
- Use your 1 cup of reserved pasta water to thin down the sauce as much as you'd like. I used about 1/2 cup of my pasta water.
- Toss the cooked pasta into the alfredo sauce, and serve topped with the fried sage leaves, pine nuts, and extra parmesan cheese.
- To fry sage leaves, just heat a little olive oil in a pan until hot and drop them in. They’ll sizzle and curl up in just seconds. Remove to a paper towel to drain. You can fry whole leaves, or stack them and roll up like a cigar, then slice your roll into thin slices. You’ll get fine shreds which are fabulous to fry.
- To toast pine nuts start with a dry pan and heat over medium. Add the pine nuts and stir or shake the pan until they start to turn golden and fragrant. I will sometimes start with a little oil, which toasts them faster and adds a lovely sheen to the nuts.