This creamy pumpkin pasta recipe uses homemade pumpkin puree, and it's insane how much the flavors shine when using fresh pumpkin! The pumpkin sauce is bursting with fall flavors including sweet pumpkin and earthy sage leaves. Parmesan cheese adds a nutty saltiness, while onions and garlic bring savory goodness.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Fresh Pumpkin Pasta, Pumpkin Pasta, Pumpkin Pasta Recipe
In a large pot of generously salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Rinse pasta with a bit of cold water or toss with a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent sticking while preparing the other ingredients.
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan set over medium heat (you can use the same pot used for the pasta), add 2 teaspoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once the oil is warm, add the onions. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium or medium-low, until the onions have caramelized slightly. Add a tablespoon of water to the pot periodically to detach any brown bits that form, stirring them back into the onions. The more you do this, the more flavorful the final sauce will be, because caramelization = flavor. Add the garlic and sage and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently, then remove the pot from the heat.
Microwave the half-and-half for around 45-60 seconds until warm. If you prefer, you can add the half-and-half directly to the pot with the onions and stir over low heat until warmed through, but be careful to make sure the liquid doesn’t simmer and reduce.
Puree the pumpkin, half-and-half, onion mixture, parmesan, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg in blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. If the pumpkin sauce tastes like it’s missing something, it likely needs a bit more salt and/or lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Toss pumpkin sauce with the pasta. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Serve immediately, optionally garnishing each bowl with a bit of chopped sage. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-4 days.
For a lighter meal, you can replace the half-and-half with whole milk or part-skim milk. For the cheese, I recommend using a microplane zester or the finest setting on your box grater. Larger shreds of parmesan may not melt as well into the sauce, creating a lumpier texture.