Penne with Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is delicious and creamy, made with Parmesan cheese and savory spices! Serve it over penne for an easy meatless dinner.

Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

It’s pumpkin season! Alex and I needed a quick and easy recipe for some dinner guests, and of course we took that chance to create something entirely new: this penne with pumpkin sauce recipe. Though it’s typically used in sweet dishes, pumpkin puree actually makes for a great pumpkin pasta sauce! It’s got a creamy texture that melds seamlessly with Parmesan cheese. It’s comfy, easy (like 30 minutes easy), and lovely for fall. Keep reading for our pumpkin pasta sauce recipe, and a few more pumpkin recipes we love.

Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

How to make pumpkin pasta sauce

This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is similar to the sauce in our Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake with Goat Cheese, another brilliant pumpkin recipe. Here are the secrets to this simple pumpkin pasta sauce! Saute some minced garlic in a bit of olive oil, then carefully add canned pumpkin puree, vegetable broth and spices (like chili powder and nutmeg). Simmer until it becomes thick, then stir in a bit of Greek yogurt. One trick is to temper the Greek yogurt with the hot sauce: mixing the Greek yogurt with the pasta sauce makes sure the yogurt doesn’t curdle when immediately hitting the hot pasta sauce. Finally, mix in shredded Parmesan cheese.

The resulting pumpkin pasta sauce is flavorful and creamy, with no bitter aftertaste like canned pumpkin can sometimes have. Mainly, it’s cheesy and delicious! Even better, you can make up the entire pumpkin pasta sauce recipe and boil the penne in 30 minutes. This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe can work on any type of short pasta, like macaroni, rigatoni, or fusilli (spirals). You could also use it on longer pastas like linguine or fettuccine, but we typically make this one with short pasta.

Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

Looking for pumpkin recipes? 

Who’s not looking for pumpkin recipes in the fall? Outside of this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe, here are a few of our favorite pumpkin recipes we’ve made:

Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

Did you make this recipe?

If you make our pumpkin pasta sauce recipe, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.

This recipe is…

This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is vegetarian. For gluten-free, find gluten-free penne.

Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

Penne with Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

1 Star (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is delicious and creamy, made with Parmesan cheese and savory spices! Serve it over penne for an easy meatless dinner.


  • 1 pound penne pasta (or gluten-free pasta)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish


  1. Start a pot of salted water to boil, then boil the pasta until al dente. When done, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat; add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
  3. Carefully add the pumpkin purée and broth to the skillet and stir to fully combine. Add the chili powder, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Cover and bring it to a high simmer, bubbling constantly. then cook for 10 to 15 minutes until thickened. Once thickened, place 1/2 cup of the sauce in a small bowl and mix it with the Greek yogurt, then add the mixture back to the pan and stir to combine. Add the shredded Parmesan and stir until mostly melted. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  4. Pour the pumpkin Parmesan sauce onto the pasta. Serve immediately, garnished with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Keywords: Pumpkin Pasta, Pumpkin Penne, Penne Pasta, Vegetarian, Fall, Healthy Dinner Recipe, Parmesan


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker
    October 21, 2013 at 12:17 am

    I actually made your pumpkin hummus and I find it is great as well in a potato bake. It helps the flavouring in the normally bland cheese sauce. Hope to see what else you can come up with to help us at dinner!

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      What a great idea! How did you make the potato bake? That sounds scrumptious.

  • Reply
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    October 21, 2013 at 7:25 am

    This looks amazing – gorgeous photos! I’ve actually only just started cooking with pumpkin (like, literally just last week) – it’s not easy to find the tinned pureed stuff here in the UK and I’m too lazy to cut up a whole one!! But I think this recipe might just convince me :)

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Oh, thank you! We haven’t made our own puree…yet :) We definitely need to. Good luck with locating some puree!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    October 21, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Simple pasta meals like this are the best! Love this!

  • Reply
    Grace @ Earthy Feast
    October 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Ok, now I have to make that pumpkin hummus! This looks so scrumptious!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Ooh that looks so deliciously creamy! Perfect autumn comfort food.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    So pretty, and I bet just as delicious. Your photos are amazing… I can only hope to someday be that good! Thank you for sharing.. :-)

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Oh, thank you! That is so kind!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies
    October 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    YUM! I love pumpkin but have mostly kept it for sweet dishes. Can’t wait to try a savory one.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    A simple and humble pasta which looks pretty yummy. Your pictures are so bright and fresh looking.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you :)

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you, Asha!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    This looks delicious and the photos are perfect! I bet the pumpkin hummus worked so well as the sauce!

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Thanks so much, Tieghan! It was very tasty :)

  • Reply
    Lisanne de Jong
    October 22, 2013 at 4:39 am

    That looks beyond! Definetly trying this out soon!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2014 at 8:16 am

    If you heat canned pumpkin it’s makes it taste fresher and removes the metallic taste.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Sounds delicious & healthy – perfect for these chilly days!

  • Reply
    Jessica Flory
    October 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Sonja, you NAILED IT!!! The updated recipe is fabulous!! The whole family loved this pasta dish. So creamy and flavorful!

  • Reply
    Judy Green
    November 4, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Made this pumpkin pasta dish for dinner. It was a hearty meal that is both delicious and comforting! Easy to make and a hit with my family. Thanks for the recipe.

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