A velvety pumpkin pasta sauce wrapped around al dente pasta and rich Italian sausage, this creamy pumpkin pasta needs to be on your dinner menu asap.

  • The taste is amazing – pumpkin, sage, Italian sausage, parmesan.
  • Rich and comforting.
  • Creamy, smooth and velvety sauce.
  • Quick and easy – ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Perfect Fall weeknight dinner.

This easy pumpkin pasta with sausage is a weeknight dinner dream! Rich and cosy yet relatively healthy, this recipe is filled with wholesome flavours and comes together in a flash. Add some crusty bread on the side to soak up any leftover pumpkin sauce and prepare to have your family asking for more.

For a more indulgent pumpkin pasta recipe, try this pumpkin mac n cheese too!

Penne pasta in pumpkin sauce in a skillet.

Ingredients you’ll need

So many of the ingredients here add so much flavour. Nothing is incidental and it all marries together so perfectly into the most dreamy pumpkin pasta sauce.

Ingredients for creamy pumpkin pasta.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Pumpkin: I used kent pumpkin here but you can use any and even butternut squash will work. You can also use canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling).
  • Italian sausage: The richness of pork combined with spices like fennel, salt and chilli among others, Italian sausage is filled with umami flavour. You can use sweet mild or hot – the choice is yours.
  • Onion: I use red onion but brown onion or even shallots will work here.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds a boost of bold flavour.
  • Dried sage: You can most certainly use fresh sage leaves too but I keep it simple by using dried sage here.
  • Stock: I use either chicken stock or vegetable stock (also known as chicken broth or vegetable broth).
  • Tomato paste: This is a concentrated paste made from tomatoes with a bold, sweet tomato flavour.
  • Milk: Use whole milk for this recipe as it’s less inclined to split in the sauce. You can also swap it for plant-based milks or half and half.
  • Parmesan: Please use block parmesan and grate it yourself. This will give you a nicer texture in the sauce than the pre-grated parmesan which often has coatings to stop it from sticking together.
  • Pepper: You need a little cracked black pepper but I find no salt is required since the sausages and parmesan already add that.
  • Pasta: I like dry short pasta here like penne or rigatoni. Spirals will also work and so will long pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle.

You can add other cosy spices like a pinch of nutmeg or ground cinnamon. Or spice it up with a pinch of cayenne or some dried chilli flakes (red pepper flakes).

How to make pumpkin pasta sauce (step-by-step)

This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is incredibly simple to make. Pair it with penne like I have here or your favourite pasta shape – any will work!

A collage of 6 images showing how to make pumpkin pasta.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the pumpkin: Start by boiling the pumpkin (photo 1) until soft – this takes 7-10 minutes. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and puree it in a blender (see tips).
  2. Cook the pasta: Add the pasta to the pumpkin water (photo 2) with some salt and bring it back to a boil. Cook the pasta until just before al dente.
  3. Cook the pumpkin pasta sauce: Start by sauteing onion and Italian sausage in a little oil until the sausage is browned all over (photo 3). Make sure to break up the sausage as it cooks.
  4. Spices: Add garlic and sage and cook them through for 1 minute.
  5. The liquids: Add the stock and use it to deglaze the pan, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the pumpkin puree and milk (photo 4). Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for 3-4 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  6. Parmesan and pasta: Stir in the parmesan and pepper (photo 5) until it’s fully incorporated then add the cooked and drained pasta (photo 6).

I missed a trick here – a crunchy topping, while not necessary (we adored it without) would take this to a whole other level. You could try some sage leaves, fried until crispy in butter or a pangrattato – you can find both recipes in my hasselback butternut squash recipe. You could also just try some simple pepitas.

Tips and tricks

This creamy pumpkin pasta is truly quick and easy to make from scratch but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Blending hot food: Blending hot pumpkin (or any hot food) in your blender can be dangerous if it’s completely enclosed. Most blenders have a vent – make sure that is open – or let it cool for just a few minutes and add half the stock to the pumpkin before blending so that it’s cooler.
  • Undercook the pasta: You want to slightly undercook the pasta so that it’s a little firmer than you’d like to eat it as it will continue absorbing liquid when you add it to the pasta sauce.
  • Keep some pasta water: Make sure to hold back some pasta water. A little added to your sauce adds silkiness and if your sauce becomes too thick, pasta water can be added to loosen it and has more flavour than adding plain water.  You may not use it but if you don’t save it, you’re guaranteed to wish you did.
  • Store some pasta water for leftovers: If you have leftovers, keep some leftover pasta water too. The sauce will thicken as it chills and will remain thick even when reheated so adding just a dash of pasta water will bring it back to the creamy texture you love, making the leftovers just as delicious.
Closeup of penne pasta in a pumpkin sauce.

Yield and storage

This recipe makes enough for 4 serves.

Leftover pumpkin pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

If you’re storing leftovers, I recommend storing some of the pasta water separately too as the sauce will thicken. When reheating, add a little of the pasta water to let it down and add flavour and silkiness from the starch.

FAQs

Can this recipe be made ahead?

This recipe is best made fresh. You can make the pumpkin sauce a day ahead before adding freshly cooked pasta the following day though.

Is this pumpkin pasta sauce dairy-free?

You can swap the dairy milk in this recipe for plant-based milk, like soy milk or almond milk.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Simply use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free. Double-check with your butcher if required to make sure the sausages are gluten-free too. As a general rule, they are but may be made in kitchens that use gluten ingredients too.

Pumpkin pasta in a small dinner bowl.

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Penne pasta in a pumpkin sauce still in a skillet.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

5 from 2 ratings
This creamy pumpkin pasta is ready in 25 minutes and is full of comforting flavour from pumpkin, sage and Italian sausage. Cosy up with a bowl of this delicious and hearty weeknight pasta dish!

Ingredients

  • 500 g pumpkin, deseeded & peeled (1.1lb)
  • 320 g dry penne pasta, or similar (11.2oz)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (notes 1)
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 pork or Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste (notes 1)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 45 g finely grated parmesan (1.6oz / ⅔ cup not packed)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the pumpkin:
    Peel and deseed the pumpkin then cut it into roughly 2.5cm (1-inch cubes). Add it to a large pan with about 2 litres of water (seems like a lot but we'll be using this water for the pasta too).
  • Cook the pumpkin:
    Bring the pumpkin and water to a boil and then cook for 7-10 minutes until very soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it too your blender. With the vent open, blend the pumpkin to a puree. If your blender doesn't have a vent, add half the stock to the pumpkin and let it cool a few minutes first.
  • Cook the pasta:
    Add the pasta to the pumpkin water along with salt. Stir will then boil for 8-10 minutes, or until it's a little firmer than you'd like to eat (it will cook further once added to the sauce). Definitely don't overcook and don't cook until it's soft.
  • Reserve one cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside until required.
  • Make the sauce:
    While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sausage. As it cooks break up the sausage with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage has browned.
  • Add the garlic and dried sage. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the stock and use it to deglaze the pan, then add the tomato paste, pumpkin purée and milk.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Add the parmesan and pepper and stir until completely melted through.
  • Add the pasta and stir through for another minute then it’s ready to serve. Add a dash of the pasta water and stir it through. Add more if you need to loosen the sauce at all.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.

Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard 20ml Australian tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Some countries use a 15ml tablespoon so check before measuring.
  2. Pumpkin: You can use any pumpkin or even butternut squash.
  3. Sausage: Use mild or hot Italian sausage; the choice is yours.
  4. Pasta: Other kinds of pasta will work too. Rigatoni is a great option but even spaghetti will work.
  5. Blending hot food: Blending hot pumpkin (or any hot food) in your blender can be dangerous if it’s completely enclosed. Most blenders have a vent – make sure that is open – or let it cool for just a few minutes and add half the stock to the pumpkin before blending so that it’s cooler.
  6. Undercook the pasta: You want to slightly undercook the pasta so that it’s a little firmer than you’d like to eat it as it will continue absorbing liquid when you add it to the pasta sauce.
  7. Serving suggestions: Serve with a little parsley, or some sage leaves crisped in butter in a pan. Sprinkle over a little more grated parmesan to taste. A pangrattato goes lovely on this too or some crunchy pepitas.
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