Meatless Monday Challenge

One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

on April 22, 2021
last updated May 21, 2024
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This Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce is quick and easy to make, easy to clean up, and will feed the whole family! It's hearty, flavorful, and cozy.
One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Looking for a hearty and cozy one-pot meal to whip up for the whole family tonight? This Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce is sure to please the whole family!

With only one pot required, just 11 ingredients (including salt, pepper, and olive oil), this easy meatless pasta dish is easy to cook and easy to clean, which (hi, busy mom, here!), we can all appreciate!

This recipe turns your favorite fall ingredient into a creamy, savory, pumpkin-forward sauce with notes of Parmesan, nutmeg, and sage. In this recipe, you will learn how to cook pasta in the sauce (no need to strain!), and how to easily thin out the sauce to get the perfect consistency.

two bowls of pumpkin and sage pasta with hand on one bowl

As a busy mom and environmental scientist, one-pot recipes are my absolute favorite! Less clean-up means we save on both time and water! Win, win.

Green tip: Speaking of cleanup, if you have a dishwasher—use it! Comparing dishwashing to handwashing, using an efficient dishwasher uses 1/6th the amount of water to get your dishes clean!

Pasta With Pumpkin Sauce Ingredients

Outside of that one pot, here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Short pasta. Like Penne, Cavatappi, Fusilli, Rotini, Farfalle, Gemelli, Rigatoni, or Ziti.
  • Olive oil. Just a splash to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot as it cooks.
  • Vegetable broth. To cook the pasta in to infuse flavor. You can buy it or make your own from veggie scraps!
  • Pumpkin puree. The easiest way to get bold pumpkin flavor!
  • Butter. For the base of your pumpkin sauce.
  • Milk. To thin out the sauce at the end so it’s not too stodgy, while retaining its dreamy creamy texture. Dairy or unsweetened plant-based milk works.
  • Parmesan Cheese. For a little extra salt and cheesiness. You can substitute nutritional yeast if you want to keep this dairy free.
  • Sage. For freshness, color, and a herbaceous finish.
  • Nutmeg. For a little nuttiness and to tie all the flavors together.
  • Salt and Pepper. For flavor.
Ingredients for One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce - parmesan, pumpkin puree, butter, milk, vegetable broth, salt, nutmeg, olive oil, pepper, pasta, sage

What Is Short Pasta?

Short pasta is, well, exactly as it sounds! Pasta that is shorter like penne rather than longer like spaghetti.

As pictured here, I used Penne, but I’ve made this recipe with almost every short pasta under the sun. My favorite pasta options for this recipe are: Cavatappi, Fusilli, Rotini, Farfalle, Gemelli, Rigatoni, and Ziti.

This pasta is definitely delicious with long pasta too, but using long pasta will drastically change the cooking time. If you do want to use long pasta for this recipe, check the pasta after 11 minutes.

My all-time favorite pasta to pair with this luscious pumpkin sauce is penne.

Why, you ask? Well, because those little hollow cylinders are like flavor tunnels where the incredible pumpkin sauce sneaks in and bursts out with every mind-blowing bite!

Green tip: Pasta is a great starch option carbon-footprint wise! Manufacturing is a relatively less intensive process than most other starches, and its long shelf-life means you’re less likely to waste it!

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Pasta Tips and Tricks

Cook Your Pasta in the Broth and Pumpkin to Infuse Flavor

Now, let’s get cookin’! Grab your pasta and add it to a large pot with the vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

The pasta will soak up all that incredible flavor, like sponges on a mission! And guess what? No draining required, how cool is that? This easy-breezy technique will make your life a whole lot simpler while giving your taste buds a reason to do the happy dance.

We are looking for a perfect al dente texture – not too mushy, not too tough – just right, like Goldilocks would say. Because, let’s be honest, nobody wants a floppy noodle stealing the show. We want pasta perfection, baby!

Cooking pasta al dente to pair with pumpkin sauce
Add the pasta to the pot with the olive oil, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Make Sure to Stir Your Pasta Frequently

Alright, let me spill the one pot pasta cooking secrets, my friends!

You do have the olive oil lending a helping hand, but here’s the ultimate trick to keeping that pasta from getting stuck to the bottom of the pot while it works its magic: just give it a stir now and then.

Once your pasta, olive oil, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, and seasonings are in the pot, crank up the heat to high and get the pasta party started! Cover the pot and let it come to a bubbling boil.

Once it’s bubbling away, set a timer for 13 to 15 minutes. But wait, don’t kick back and relax just yet – give it a gentle stir every 3 to 5 minutes!

Grab your trusty wooden spoon, and gracefully scrape the bottom of the pot, ensuring nothing gets stuck and everything’s cooking up to perfection.

And make sure to return the cover back to the pot after each time you stir. That way, it stays all warm and cozy, and the flavors mingle in harmony.

When the timer hits 13 minutes, it’s showtime! Grab your fork and take a little taste of that pasta wonderland. Is it al dente, with just the right amount of bite? If it’s still a tad too raw for your liking, fear not!

Give it a couple more minutes to simmer and cook its heart out. You can let it cook for up to two more minutes, and trust me, those precious moments can make all the difference.

But remember, keep an eye on it, and once it reaches that ideal texture you crave, remove it from the heat.

Stirring one pot pasta with pumpkin sauce as it cooks to avoid sticking
Make sure to stir occasionally as your pasta cooks so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Add the Butter, Sage, and Parmesan Next

Once you’ve turned off that stovetop, it’s butter, sage and Parmesan time! Get ready to make that sauce sing with richness and flavor. Stir in the butter and sprinkle in that glorious parmesan and chopped sage, and watch the sauce come to life right before your eyes.

Keep stirring away, allowing the residual heat from the one-pot pasta work its charm, gently melting the butter. Make sure to coat the pasta evenly, letting each morsel soak up that indulgent goodness.

Adding grated Parmesan to pasta with pumpkin sauce
Remove from heat and add the Parmesan, butter, and sage.

How to Get the Perfect Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Consistency

Alright, my sauce-savvy friends, we’re in the home stretch now, and it’s all about that perfect pumpkin sauce consistency!

Here’s the secret sauce (literally!): Grab that milk, and add it in ever so slowly, just like a pro chef. Start with about 1 tablespoon at a time – we’re talking patience here! Stir as you pour it in, letting the sauce work its magic and thin out beautifully.

Now, the fun part – you’re the sauce boss, so keep adding the milk in small increments until you’ve reached the consistency that makes you drool. It might take up to 1/2 cup of milk to reach that dreamy texture, but trust me, it’s worth every drop!

Here’s the beauty of it all – whether you choose dairy or nondairy milk, the pumpkin magic remains. Just make sure it’s unflavored and unsweetened, so it doesn’t steal the show from that glorious pumpkin goodness.

So, there you have it, the final touch to our pumpkin pasta wonder! Your pasta is swimming in that creamy, dreamy sauce, and you’ve got the power to make it as luscious as you desire.

Now, go ahead, grab your fork, and dive into this pumpkin-infused delight. Your taste buds are about to embark on a flavor-filled adventure they won’t soon forget. Enjoy!

Thinning out pumpkin pasta sauce with milk
Add the milk slowly, stirring in between, to thin out the pumpkin sauce and get the best consistency.

How to Serve Pumpkin Sauce Pasta

This pasta with pumpkin sauce is delicious enough on its own, but if you want to jazz it up, here are my favorite proteins to serve it up with:

And as for appetizers and sides, here are some of my go-to’s:

table with bowls of pasta surrounded by napkin, forks, and sage

How to Properly Store and Reheat Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Oh, the pasta that keeps on giving! Get ready for some delicious leftovers, my friend!

To keep this culinary masterpiece fresh and fabulous, pop it into an airtight container. This way, it stays as tasty as the day you first whipped it up.

You’ve got a nice window of 5-7 days to enjoy those amazing flavors, but trust me, it’s going to be hard to make it last that long!

Now, when it’s time for a pasta encore, we got this! Grab a microwave-safe bowl and give your pasta a little milk splash – just a touch to keep it moist.

Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper for that extra oomph, cover it up, and zap it on high for about 2 minutes. That’s all it takes for those flavors to come back to life!

Give it a good stir, and if you need a little extra warmth, another 30 seconds in the microwave will do the trick. Voilà, pasta perfection restored!

But wait, what if you have a pasta party (aka more than one serving!) to reheat? No worries!

Bring out the big pot, toss in all the portions you desire, and cover it up. Let it gently heat over low heat for around 20 minutes, and it’ll be like a pasta reunion! Remember, a dash of milk can help loosen things up and some extra seasoning will breathe new life into it.

So, there you have it, the secrets to reheating this pasta sensation like a pro! Now go ahead, enjoy your leftovers, and savor every moment of pasta perfection all over again. Bon appétit, once more!

Green tip: Of the billions of tons of food wasted annually, 50% of food waste happens at home. Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing, reheating, and consuming leftovers.

What to do with Leftover Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree lasts for 5-7 days after opening the can when removed from the can and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

There are so many delicious savory (like this pumpkin pasta!), sweet (like this pumpkin French toast and pumpkin muffins), and even cocktail recipes that incorporate pumpkin puree!

Want to sharpen your kitchen skills?

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Why You Should Make This Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

  • It’s easy to clean up! One pot. Enough said.
  • It’s warm and cozy. Fall flavors and hearty pasta? Doesn’t get much cozier than that.
  • It’s super quick! A full meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes is a no-brainer for me!

If you’re loving this Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce and want more savory pumpkin dishes, check out this Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto and Carrot Pumpkin Soup!

One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

5 from 8 votes
Marley Goldin
This Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce is quick and easy to make, easy to clean up, and will feed the whole family! It's hearty, flavorful, creamy and cozy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 16 ounces short pasta (like penne, ziti, rigatoni, or farfalle)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree (15 oz = 1 can)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ ounce fresh sage
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup milk (dairy on unsweetened plant-based)


  • Add the pasta, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to a large pot over high heat and stir. Cover and bring to a rolling boil, then turn heat down to medium to simmer.
    Penne pasta in a pot with vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, olive oil, and seasonings
  • Cover and simmer over medium for 13-15 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes with a wooden spoon, until pasta is al dente. As you stir, scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure the pasta doesn't stick.
    Penne pasta cooked al dente in pumpkin and broth
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the sage. Remove the pasta from heat and add the butter, sage, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to coat, allowing the residual heat to melt the butter.
    Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce before thinning out with milk
  • Slowly add the milk to thin out the sauce, about 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. You may not need all ½ cup.
    Super creamy pumpkin sauce pasta with sage
  • Serve hot with a little extra grated Parmesan and sage for garnish. Enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • Add the milk slowly to gauge the consistency of the sauce.
  • This recipe can be used for any short pasta, including, but not limited to Penne (as pictured), Cavatappi, Fusilli, Rotini, Farfalle, Rigatoni, and Gemelli.
  • For more easy and low clean-up recipes, check out this awesome list of my best One-Pot meals.
  • And if you’re craving more pumpkin, you gotta carve your way across to my Favorite Pumpkin Recipes!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Cheese, Easy, One-Pot, Pasta, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Sauce Pasta
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2 thoughts on “One-Pot Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    LOVED this recipe, it came out soo flavorful and creamy! I added kielbasa for some extra meat, but next time I make this will probably make it without because it was that good! Awesome recipe, so simple and delicious!

    1. I’m so glad you loved it, Elise!! It truly is such a great base recipe to add whatever you want and make it your own!

5 from 8 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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