Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Recipe With Fried Sage

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Get cozy with this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe. Cooked pasta is layered in a casserole dish with a béchamel sauce, pumpkin butter ricotta cheese, and shredded Italian cheeses. It’s then baked in the oven and topped with fried sage leaves, crunchy bits of pancetta, and buttered cracker crumbs creating the most delicious, comforting meal.

Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe with pumpkin butter.

Fall is all about coziness and comfort food. When I think of fall comfort food, two things come to mind…pumpkin flavor and hearty pasta!

There is nothing more filling and comforting than a big bowl of hearty pasta. Add in some pumpkin and you have an amazing fall meal that the whole family will devour!

Typically, most people associate pumpkin flavors with sweet fall treats or desserts (check out my 3 ingredient pumpkin muffins). But pumpkin is also yummy and delicious in savory dishes too. 

The key ingredient to this recipe I created? I used a jar of of sweet spiced pumpkin butter to create the savory pumpkin ricotta cheese mixture for our creamy pumpkin pasta (We’ll talk more about this in a minute!).

Pumpkin pasta casserole that can be made with pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin.

This easy recipe is perfect for pumpkin season and great on a busy weeknight for dinner but also decadent enough to be served as a side dish next to the Thanksgiving turkey. 

Either way, give this comforting fall dish a try, your family is going to enjoy it!

What is spiced pumpkin butter and why use it in this recipe?

Pumpkin butter is a fall fruit spread. Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit…I didn’t until recently!

Pumpkin pasta recipe for pumpkin season with short cut pasta and cheese.

Pumpkin butter is made from pumpkin purée with the addition of warm and sweet spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) along with a sweetener such as brown sugar or honey. 

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It tastes similar to pumpkin pie and can be used as a spread on toast, crackers, biscuits, ice cream, or just about anything you can think of.

I decided to use pumpkin butter in a more savory way by adding it to our comforting sauce. Pumpkin butter is sweet, however when you combine it with the right savory ingredients, the perfect balance of sweet and saltiness is absolutely delicious. 

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • QUICK & EASY – Despite its gourmet appeal, this recipe is relatively simple to prepare. It’s a great option for busy weeknight dinners when you want something delicious without spending hours in the kitchen.
  • VEGETARIAN OPTION – For those following a vegetarian diet, this delicious sauce offers a hearty and satisfying alternative to meat based sauces. It’s packed with flavor and provides protein from the cheese and cream.
  • VERSATILE – This pumpkin pasta sauce isn’t limited to just one type of pasta. You can pair it with a variety of pasta shapes, such as fettuccine, penne, or even stuffed pasta like ravioli. The creamy sauce will cling to the pasta, creating a harmonious bite in every forkful.
How to make pumpkin pasta with a handful of ingredients.
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Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Ingredients

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to make this pumpkin pasta dish.

  • 1 lb. Short Cut Pasta:  I used Eliconi which is essentially just a larger rotini shaped pasta but you can use your favorite pasta.
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 cup Spiced Pumpkin Butter: Pumpkin pie filling could be used in place of pumpkin butter.
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock: Chicken broth could be used instead.
  • 1 cup Milk: Light or heavy cream could be substituted for a richer sauce.
  • 2 1/4 cups Shredded Italian Cheeses: I used a bag of shredded provolone, asiago, fontina, & parmesan cheese.
  • 1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese: I like whole milk ricotta for a richer flavor.
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste

For the Pasta Topping:

  • Handful Fresh Sage Leaves
  • 1 cup Diced Pancetta
  • 1 cup Crushed & Buttered Saltine Crackers: To make this cracker topping, combine about 1/4 cup melted butter with 1 cup crushed saltine crackers. Mix together until crackers are coated in buttery goodness.
  • 1-2 cups Shredded Italian Cheeses

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED

How to Make this Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

Begin by cooking your short cut pasta in salted water in a pasta pot according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, add olive oil to a large skillet and cook the diced pancetta. Once the pancetta is crispy and brown, remove from pan with a slotted spoon (keep as much of the fat renderings in the pan as possible) and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

In the olive oil/pancetta renderings, add a handful of sage leaves and fry until crispy (this only takes a minute or so). Once crispy, place the sage leaves on the paper towel lined plate along with the pancetta.

Parmesan cheese, pancetta, and fresh sage leaves for pumpkin casserole.

On medium-low heat add flour to the oil in the large saucepan and stir to combine. Cook roux (flour & oil mixture) for about 1 minute. 

Slowly pour vegetable broth and milk into the roux, whisking as you pour to prevent lumps of flour. Cook on medium heat, whisking occasionally, until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken to create the béchamel sauce. Remove béchamel sauce from heat once thickened.

Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe with pumpkin butter and cheese.

In a mixing bowl, combine spiced pumpkin butter, ricotta cheese, Italian cheeses, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Assembling Pumpkin Pasta Casserole

Begin by evenly spreading a 1/3 of the béchamel sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or dutch oven.

Place 1/3 of the cooked pasta in an even layer on top of the béchamel. Then evenly spread 1/3 of the pumpkin ricotta mixture on the pasta, with 1/3 of the shredded Italian cheeses on top of that.

Continue layering the béchamel sauce, pasta, pumpkin ricotta, and cheeses in 1/3’s. Finish the top of the pumpkin pasta casserole with shredded cheese.

Creamy pumpkin casserole with fried sage for pumpkin season.

Bake creamy pumpkin pasta in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and top & corners are browned.

Note: Did you know that pumpkins are a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants? By incorporating pumpkin into the sauce, you’re adding a boost of nutrients to your meal.

Serving Pumpkin Pasta

Allow casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish top of pumpkin pasta casserole with a few fried sage leaves.

Serve creamy pumpkin pasta in a bowl (A bowl gives more room for hearty helpings!) then top with a dollop of pumpkin butter, pancetta crumbles, crushed crackers, shredded Italian cheese, and fried sage leaves for garnish.

Creamy pumpkin casserole with pumpkin sauce and cheese.

Enjoy the comforting pumpkin pasta goodness. You will definitely go back for seconds!

Tips & Tricks

  • Cook the pasta only to al dente. The pasta will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Farfalle, ziti, rigatoni, cavatappi, or penne pasta are other great options that can be used to make this dish.
  • Take a little help from the store and buy already diced pancetta.
  • Frying the pancetta and the sage leaves first, will add depth of flavor to the béchamel sauce.
  • Canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or fresh pumpkin puree could be used in place of pumpkin butter, you’ll just need to adjust the seasoning.
  • Taste the spiced pumpkin butter before adding to the ricotta cheese. The pumpkin butter I used was not overly sweet. If your pumpkin butter is super sweet you may want to use less in this recipe.
  • Add chopped cooked chicken breast or turkey breast to this dish for added protein.
  • Pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts would be a great crunchy topping too!

Storing Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Leftovers

Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Easy autumn casserole for pumpkin season with fresh ingredients.

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xoxo, heidi

Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe with pumpkin butter.
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Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Get cozy with this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe. Cooked pasta is layered in a casserole dish with a béchamel sauce, pumpkin butter ricotta cheese, and shredded Italian cheeses. It's then baked in the oven and topped with fried sage leaves, crunchy bits of pancetta, and buttered cracker crumbs creating the most delicious, comforting meal.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Resting Time:10 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Eliconi Pasta or any short cut pasta
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 cup Spiced Pumpkin Butter
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth or chicken broth
  • 1 cup Milk or light cream
  • 2 1/4 cups Shredded Italian Cheeses Asiago, Parmesan, & Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the Pasta Topping

  • Handful of Sage Leaves
  • 1 cup Diced Pancetta
  • 1 cup Saltine Crackers crushed
  • 1/4 cup Butter melted
  • 1-2 cups Shredded Italian Cheeses

Instructions

  • Begin by cooking your short cut pasta in salted water in a pasta pot according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, add olive oil to a large skillet and cook the diced pancetta. Once the pancetta is crispy and brown, remove from pan with a slotted spoon (keep as much of the fat renderings in the pan as possible) and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • In the olive oil/pancetta renderings, add a handful of sage leaves and fry until crispy (this only takes a minute or so). Once crispy, place the sage leaves on the paper towel lined plate along with the pancetta.
  • On medium-low heat add flour to the oil and stir to combine. Cook roux (flour & oil mixture) for about 1 minute.
  • Slowly pour vegetable broth and milk into the roux, whisking as you pour to prevent lumps of flour. Cook on medium heat, whisking occasionally, until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken to create the béchamel sauce. Remove béchamel sauce from heat once thickened.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine spiced pumpkin butter, ricotta cheese, Italian cheeses, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Spread a 1/3 of the béchamel sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Place 1/3 of the cooked pasta in an even layer on top of the béchamel. Then evenly spread 1/3 of the pumpkin ricotta mixture on the pasta, with 1/3 of the shredded Italian cheeses on top of that.
  • Continue layering the béchamel sauce, pasta, pumpkin ricotta, and cheeses in 1/3’s. Finish the top of the pumpkin pasta casserole with shredded cheese.
  • Bake creamy pumpkin pasta in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and top & corners are browned.
  • Allow casserole to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish top of pumpkin pasta casserole with a few fried sage leaves.
  • Serve creamy pumpkin pasta in a bowl then top with a dollop of pumpkin butter, pancetta crumbles, crushed crackers, shredded Italian cheese, and fried sage leaves for garnish.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Cook the pasta only to al dente. The pasta will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Farfalle, ziti, rigatoni, cavatappi, or penne pasta are other great options that can be used to make this dish.
  • Take a little help from the store and buy already diced pancetta.
  • Frying the pancetta and the sage leaves first, will add depth of flavor to the béchamel sauce.
  • Canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie filling, or fresh pumpkin puree could be used in place of pumpkin butter, you’ll just need to adjust the seasoning.
  • Taste the spiced pumpkin butter before adding to the ricotta cheese. The pumpkin butter I used was not overly sweet. If your pumpkin butter is super sweet you may want to use less in this recipe.
  • Add chopped cooked chicken breast or turkey breast to this dish for added protein.
  • Pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts would be a great crunchy topping too!

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Casserole, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Casserole
Servings: 6
Calories: 381kcal

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Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe with pumpkin butter.
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