The best thing to happen to canned pumpkin since pie.
Who among us does not have a random extra can of pumpkin in their pantry? Maybe you don’t; I most certainly do — especially this year, for some reason. (You might have thought I was making pumpkin pie for 50 this Thanksgiving instead of three.) Not wanting more pie or pumpkin bread, I decided to try something savory. And this easy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is the happy result.
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There are several reasons why I can’t say enough good things about this recipe:
- First, it is very simple. Boil pasta. Meanwhile, fry some prosciutto and sage, then heat butter, cream, cheese, and pumpkin together in the skillet. Combine everything, serve.
- The flavor and color looks — and is — special without being fussy. This pasta has a really gorgeous light orange color, set off by the dark sage and pink fried prosciutto. It looks “restaurant-y,” but is actually just beautiful, elegant home cooking.
- We always need a savory way to eat pumpkin. Pumpkin purée recipes almost always tend to default sweet: think pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin bars. I love that this does the opposite. The salty prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano plays perfectly against the pumpkin.
Recipe Notes: Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
Want to make this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe vegetarian? Easy. Just leave out the prosciutto. The sage and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano will add enough savory element and tastes fabulous on its own. You may need to slightly adjust the salt in the finished dish.
Save the pasta water! The pasta water is a key ingredient here. You will need it to loosen the sauce and make everything cohesive and creamy.
Along those lines, undercook the pasta. The pasta will finish cooking in the pumpkin sauce with added pasta water. If you’ve hit al dente with your pot of boiling water, it is already slightly overcooked. (But don’t stress; it will still taste delicious.)
Did you make this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe? What did you think? Share below.
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta With Prosciutto + Sage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces prosciutto, sliced into thin ribbons
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée, such as Libby's
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni or other good-sized tubular pasta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to garnish
- 2 cups reserved pasta water (you may not use all of this)
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Stir, and cook until two minutes shy of al dente. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups of pasta water.
- While the pasta comes to a boil and cooks, cook the prosciutto and sage in two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and crisp. Set aside on a plate.
- Add the pumpkin, cream, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and butter to the skillet. Cook, whisking, until smooth and heated through. It will be thick.
- Add the drained pasta and half of the prosciutto and sage back to the skillet. Toss to coat and cook together for a minute or two, using pasta water to loosen it into a creamy sauce. (Note: I used nearly 2 cups, in several additions.)
- Remove from heat. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Taste for seasoning. Spoon into pasta bowls, topping with the remaining prosciutto and sage, with a sprinkle of additional grated cheese.