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This fall Creamy Pumpkin Pasta is a savory, delicious, easy-to-make vegetarian main or side dish! Your favorite pasta is combined with sautéed shallot, garlic, broth, pumpkin, and two types of cheese for a warm and comforting meal that’s perfect this time of year!

Creamy pumpkin pasta in a large pot.
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Want to try a more savory pumpkin recipe? Whip up this Creamy Pumpkin Pasta dish in less than 30 minutes! It’s rich, satisfying and so cozy! Tender pasta is tossed in a flavorful and delicious sauce with pumpkin and cheese. It’s creamy without needing to add any milk or cream. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh thyme, and you’ll have the perfect fall dinner or side dish.

Why you should make this pumpkin and pasta recipe

  • Major deliciousness: Get ready for an absolute explosion of flavor! It’s cheesy and creamy with just a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin, but plenty of savory flavor from the shallot, garlic, and cheese.
  • Quick & easy: This pumpkin pasta recipe is so simple to make and it comes together with very little effort. While the pasta is boiling, you can start the sauce, and then stir everything together.
  • Loved by all: Family-friendly and always a crowd-pleaser, this is one of those dishes to whip up when you’re hosting guests! In fact, it would be a great alternative to classic mac & cheese for Thanksgiving.
Closeup view of pumpkin pasta garnished with fresh thyme.

Ingredients needed

This pumpkin pasta recipe requires simple ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. Here’s the lineup:

  • Pasta: You’ll need 1 pound of any favorite pasta. We like to use a variety that really holds onto the sauce, like shells, penne, ziti, or rigatoni. Feel free to substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta for added nutritional value. Use gluten-free pasta, as desired.
  • Salt & pepper: To bring out all of the delicious flavors.
  • Olive oil: For cooking the shallot onion and garlic.
  • Shallot & garlic: Adds delicious aromatic flavor. Shallots have a more delicate and sweet flavor than onions. However, you can swap the shallot for onion, if preferred.
  • Broth: To keep this dish vegetarian-friendly, use vegetable broth.
  • Pumpkin: The shining star of this recipe! You can make your own pumpkin puree or buy canned pumpkin.
  • Cheese: We’re using grated red cheddar (or sharp cheddar) with parmesan cheese for the best cheesy taste.
  • Garnish: For a pop of color, sprinkle some fresh thyme or parsley over the top.
ingredients to make pumpkin pasta

How to make this recipe

This pumpkin pasta recipe is quick and easy to get on the dinner table in a hurry! Perfect for busy weeknights! Here’s the simple process:

  1. Boil the pasta: Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté the shallot and garlic: While the pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat. Drizzle with the oil and sauté the shallot for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring continuously for 1 minute.
  3. Make the sauce: Add the broth and pumpkin puree, and whisk until combined and creamy. Add the grated cheddar and stir until melted.
  1. Finish and serve: Add the cooked pasta over the creamy sauce and stir to coat. Garnish with parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired. Enjoy!

Expert Tips

  • Seasoning pasta: Be sure to season the water with salt before adding to the pasta; otherwise this may not taste as flavorful. Typically, we add 1 teaspoon of salt per 4 cups of water.
  • Replace the pumpkin: Try using butternut squash or sweet potato instead of the pumpkin for a slightly different flavor.
  • Freshly grated cheese: For the best flavor and melting, we recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe. The bagged pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-caking agents and just don’t melt as smoothly.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best pasta for pumpkin pasta?

We like to use a tubular noodle because the sauce clings to it and sticks on the inside. Penne, ziti, or rigatoni are great options, but really any short pasta will work in this recipe.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes! The sauce is naturally gluten-free, so you’ll just want to be sure to choose a gluten-free pasta such as brown rice, quinoa, or chickpea pasta.

What to serve with pumpkin pasta?

Serve this as the main course with a fresh green salad, air fryer broccoli or roasted veggies, and some crusty bread to sop up all of the incredible pumpkin pasta sauce. We also love this as a side dish paired with roasted turkey, meatloaf, or garlic butter chicken.

side shot of pumpkin pasta in a pan garnished with shredded parmesan cheese

Variations

This pasta recipe is delicious as-is, but feel free to change things up to customize it to your family’s preferences and what you have available. Here are some options:

  • Protein: Toss the sauce and pasta with cooked, diced chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, or Italian sausage for a boost of protein.
  • Vegetables: Mix in spinach, kale, or even peas for extra nutrition. You could also sauté a diced red bell pepper along with the shallot.
  • Make it spicy: Consider adding some red pepper flakes or even a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you like spicy foods.

Storage recommendations

  • Storing: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Before reheating, stir in a bit of milk to make the pasta creamier. Reheat in the microwave in small increments, covered until heated through.
Creamy pumpkin pasta in a large pot.

More pasta recipes

side shot of pumpkin pasta thats orange in color in a dish

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5 from 2 votes

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

By: Rena
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
top view of pumpkin pasta in a skillet
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta is a savory, delicious, easy to make vegetarian main or side dish! Your favorite pasta is combined with sautéed shallot, garlic, broth, pumpkin, and two types of cheese for a warm and comforting meal that's perfect this time of year!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup grated red cheddar
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Optional: fresh thyme

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium heat. Drizzle with the oil and sauté the shallot for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring continuously for 1 minute.
  • Add the broth and pumpkin puree, and whisk until combined and creamy. Add the grated cheddar and stir until melted. Add the cooked pasta over the creamy sauce and stir to coat.
  • Garnish with parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes

  • Storing: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Before reheating, stir in a bit of milk to make the pasta creamier. Reheat in the microwave in small increments, covered until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 582kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 25gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1371mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 10gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 638IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 304mgIron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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