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Creamy Pumpkin Pasta made with Italian sausage, spinach and a delicious pumpkin sauce is ready in under 30 minutes! It's a flavorful and savory pumpkin recipe that will quickly become a fall favorite.
Oh how I adore pumpkin pasta! This recipe in particular is just *chef's kiss*.
While this pasta recipe is not the same, it kind of reminds me of my spicy sausage potato soup, probably because of the sausage and greens.
The thing about this dish is that the flavors all mend together really nicely. You may not think of pasta when you think of pumpkin, but I'm hoping to change that!
- Made in one pot in under 30 minutes
- The sauce combines garlic, onion, pumpkin, sage, chicken broth, and a touch of cream to create a creamy pumpkin sauce
- Made with your favorite pasta, along with Italian sausage and spinach
Pasta - Use your favorite kind! I opted for shells because they scoop up the sauce nicely, but any kind of pasta shape will work. You can also use gluten-free pasta if you wish.
Italian sausage - Italian pork sausage or Italian chicken sausage; just make sure to buy some behind the meat counter, then remove the casing before using it.
Sage - fresh sage leaves are the way to go, but if you absolutely have to, you can use ¼ teaspoon of dried sage.
Chicken broth - You can substitute vegetable broth in a pinch.
Pumpkin - Make sure to use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
Heavy cream - Heavy cream adds a lovely richness to the sauce that I just adore. But, you can substitute half and half if you want it to be lighter, or you can use soy milk or cashew milk if you want something dairy-free.
Parmesan cheese - Preferably freshly grated, as it'll melt more easily and therefore incorporate with the sauce better than pre-shredded cheese.
Spinach - Or kale.
Step 1: Cook the pasta and sausage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta until it's al dente; drain and set aside. While the water is boiling, cook the sausage in a large skillet, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up until it's no longer pink and a little crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove it.
Step 2: Make the sauce. Start by sautéing the onion and garlic until soft, then add the sage. Next, pour in the chicken broth, pumpkin, heavy cream, salt, and red pepper flakes and bring everything to a low boil.
Step 3: Thicken the sauce. Once the sauce is at a low simmer, sprinkle in the cheese and whisk until the sauce thickens. Then, stir in the spinach until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Last, add in the cooked pasta and sausage and stir to combine.
Do a taste test and add more salt/red pepper flakes/parmesan cheese as needed.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure to reserve ½ cup of the salted pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce.
- If you don't want to use sausage, bacon or pancetta would be a delicious alternative. Or, try tempeh or seitan to keep it meatless.
What kind of pasta is best?
I like using shells, because the sauce kind of reminds me of a creamy cheese sauce, and I've always been a fan of mac and cheese with shells. With that said, you can use any kind of pasta -- my second choice would probably be fettuccine noodles.
Can this recipe be made without cream?
Yep! If you want to make pumpkin pasta dairy-free or even vegan, simply use vegan butter or olive oil, omit the heavy cream and use soy milk (or another creamy plant-based milk) and use vegan parmesan instead.
What to serve alongside pumpkin pasta?
More topping ideas:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chopped walnuts
- Hemp seeds
- Chopped fresh sage
Refrigerator: Store pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Reheating: Reheat pasta in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until warmed through. Or, reheat it in the microwave.
NOTE: If reheating on the stove, you'll probably want to add a couple tablespoons of water or olive oil to thin out the sauce, as it tends to thicken in the refrigerator.
More tasty pasta recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- 1 lb. pasta
- 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage chicken sausage or pork sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup pumpkin puree canned; make sure to use pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
- ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta until it is al dente. While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Then, remove the sausage from the casing and cook it with the oil, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Cook it until it's no longer pink and slightly crispy, then remove it with a slotted spoon; set aside. Once the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
- Next, add the butter to the skillet. Once it melts, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the sage and sauté for 1 minute.
- Pour in the chicken broth, pumpkin, heavy cream, salt, and red pepper flakes and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil, then sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and whisk until the sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low, then stir in the spinach until it wilts, about 2 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, pour in some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.
- Last, add the cooked pasta and sausage to the pot and stir to combine. Garnish with additional parmesan and enjoy!