This post is sponsored by Garofalo® Pasta. All comments and opinions are my own.
Elevate your weeknight dinner with this simple, but elegant Pumpkin Pasta Sauce with Mushrooms and Sage served tossed with Garofalo® Penne Ziti Rigate. Garnished with even more fresh sage, Parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans, this savory pasta dish has a rich, creamy texture that’s bursting with sophisticated flavor.
Healthier than some, this meatless pasta recipe actually gets its creaminess from canned pumpkin purée and a bit of cream cheese—not a lot of heavy cream. Mushrooms and garlic sautéed with fresh sage transform the pumpkin into a delicious sauce that’s perfect for the fall season.
And what’s more, this impressive dish can be on your family’s dinner table in less than 30 minutes, as well!
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce with Garofalo Penne Rigate Pasta
Cooking dinner can be one of the most enjoyable, revitalizing parts of the day. I don’t know about you, but I believe it’s more important than ever these days to gather my family around the table, and a delicious meal is one way to make that happen.
Even in the busyness of life, it’s possible to cook great meals without skimping on flavor. Weeknight meals don’t have to be boring or complicated, especially when you choose Garofalo pasta, the gourmet pasta for everyday meals. I can truthfully say that Garofalo is the most delicious store-bought pasta I’ve ever served my family.
I found Garofalo pasta at my local Ingles
Located in Gragnano, Garofalo’s pastificio is the oldest and longest operating pasta factory in Italy and has been operating since 1789—that’s more than 200 years!
Made with 100% highest-quality durum wheat semolina, Garofalo uses a traditional bronze-dye to give their pasta a coarse and porous texture so your sauce will cling to it better.
When shopping for pasta, you’ll notice that Garofalo comes in totally clear packaging, so there’s nothing to hide and everything to share.
With Garofalo, taking dinner to the next level is not only convenient, it’s the best gourmet pasta for everyday meals. It’s the pasta Italians eat, so that speaks volumes to me.
Luckily, Garofalo’s imported pasta can be found in the states at stores like Ingles. Check this store locator to find an Ingles retailer in your area and purchase Garofalo Pasta!
What is pumpkin pasta sauce?
Pumpkin pasta sauce is a creamy, savory sauce made with pumpkin purée, cream cheese or heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh sage, and spices. Pumpkin sauce has the consistency of Alfredo sauce, without all the calories. Today’s pumpkin sauce recipe also incorporates sliced mushrooms for more earthy flavor, but you could also add diced yellow onions.
How to make creamy pumpkin pasta sauce
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the mushrooms, garlic, and fresh chopped sage. Cook for about 3 minutes, until tender.
- Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin purée, chili powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
- Once the sauce has come to a gentle simmer, remove the skillet from the heat and add in cream cheese and Parmesan cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Now it’s ready for the pasta!
What goes with pumpkin pasta sauce?
I paired my pumpkin pasta sauce with penne pasta, however linguine pasta would also be a good choice. Garnishing the dish with fresh sage, Parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans amplifies the sauce’s already delicious flavor.
How to cook the perfect pasta
The secret to cooking perfect pasta every time is to make sure you use a large pot and plenty of water so that the pasta has room to boil without sticking to the pot. Here’s how:
- Add water to a large pasta or soup pot and place over high heat. A good ratio is 4 quarts of water for a pound of dry store-bought pasta. Season the water with 2 teaspoons salt and bring it to a roiling boil.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir it for a minute or two with a pasta fork. Once the water comes back to a boil, set your timer per the package instructions.
- Do a taste test to check that the pasta is cooked al dente, tender but with a little bite in the center.
- Reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid to use later, then drain the pasta in a colander, but do not rinse.
- Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the sauce. Adding some of the reserved cooking liquid helps to thin the sauce and also helps the sauce stick to the cooked pasta.
How to toast pecans
- To toast pecans on top of the stove: Add the pecans to a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir occasionally until they become fragrant and have turned just a bit darker, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- To toast pecans in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have turned just a bit darker, being careful not to scorch.
You may also enjoy trying other Garofalo products like Garofalo Linguine Pasta and Garofalo Ditalini Pasta in these delicious recipes:
- Lemon Chicken Scallopini with Capers and Olives. This bright and citrusy pasta dish is ready in just 30 minutes and tastes like you’re dining in a fine Italian bistro.
- Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Pasta Bake. Spicy Italian sausage and sweet, creamy butternut squash is combined with penne pasta and topped with smoked Gouda cheese for a comforting dinner casserole.
- Nikki’s Pasta e Fagioli Soup. This pasta and bean soup is an EASY Italian soup recipe made with ground beef and ditalini pasta in a Dutch oven or slow cooker.
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is a tasty vegetarian dish, but if you have meat-lovers in your household, you can make it even heartier by adding browned sweet Italian sausage.
Did you like this recipe?
- 16 ounces Garofalo penne rigate pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, divided
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)
- In a large pasta pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a full boil. Add the Garofalo penne rigate pasta and cook for 11 minutes, until al dente. Drain, but do not rinse. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce later.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a large deep skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sage and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the vegetable broth, pumpkin purée, chili powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg, bringing the sauce to a gentle simmer. Add the 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water and remove from the heat.
- Stir in the cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese into the sauce until it melts. Add the drained penne pasta and toss gently until coated.
- Garnish with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans, if using, and serve.
To toast pecans on top of the stove: Add the pecans to a non-stick frying pan over medium low heat. Cook and stir occasionally until they become fragrant and have turned just a bit darker, about 5 to 10 minutes.
To toast pecans in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have turned just a bit darker, being careful not to scorch.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 442mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!