- Food: Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
The ULTIMATE fall comfort dish is this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce! Roasted garlic, onion, and sage bring a warm, nuanced autumn taste to the dish.
It’s still one of my favorite fall and winter recipes, even though I created it years ago. Fresh pumpkin puree (or kabocha or butternut squash) is combined with cashews to make a rich, creamy sauce.
Yes, it looks like mac and cheese, but this unexpected pumpkin pasta sauce is quite different.
It has a nutty, deep fall flavor thanks to roasted garlic, onion, and fresh sage. I believe it’d be a great vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner option, but it’s so easy and comforting that you’ll want to prepare it all fall and winter long.
Tips for Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Prepare the cashews ahead of time by soaking them. Please be aware! If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you’ll need to prepare this dish ahead of time. Before you begin cooking, make sure the cashews have been soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours. In this manner, they will become extremely smooth and creamy in the blender.
- Save some of the pasta water for later. On their own, the pumpkin and cashews make a delicious puree, but the addition of pasta water changes them into a sauce. This salty, starchy liquid loosens the puree, enhances its flavor, and aids in its adhesion to the cooked pasta. Before draining the pasta, set aside at least 1/2 cup!
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Seasoning to taste is vital in any dish, but it’s especially important in this pumpkin pasta sauce. The flavor of your finished dish will be determined by the type of vegetable broth you choose, the saltiness of your pasta water, and how salty you season your vegetables before roasting them. Before you eat, you may need to add another pinch of salt or a few more grinds of pepper. Taste and tweak to produce a pasta meal you’ll enjoy!
Serving Suggestions for Pumpkin Pasta
This creamy pumpkin pasta makes a delicious supper on its own when topped with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan or traditional Parmesan cheese.
I frequently serve it with handmade focaccia or crusty bread to mop up any leftover pumpkin pasta sauce in my bowl.
Pair this pumpkin spaghetti with your favorite vegetable side dish for a more substantial supper.
Roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sautéed kale, or roasted cauliflower are some of my favorite combinations. It would also go well with any of the following salads:
- Salad with Pears, Walnuts, and Balsamic Shredded Brussels Sprouts
- Caesar Salad
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Pomegranate and Cider Dressing
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
|Time to Prepare: 20 minutes
Time to cook: 50 minutes
This creamy pumpkin spaghetti sauce is the ultimate fall comfort meal! Serve it over penne, or any other pasta shape you choose.
A high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, is ideal for this recipe. If you’re going to use a conventional blender, soak the cashews overnight.
- ½ kabocha squash or small sugar pie pumpkin, to yield 1 heaping cup of cooked mash
- ½ yellow onion, sliced into wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 5 large fresh sage leaves
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 16 ounces of uncooked penne pasta
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. On a baking sheet, arrange the pumpkin, onion, and garlic. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Turn the pumpkin cut-side down and use a fork to poke a few holes in the skin. Cover with another sheet of foil and bake for 35 to 1 hour, or until the onion is cooked and the pumpkin flesh is extremely tender.
- During the last few minutes of cooking, add the sage to the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and cover it with foil to continue steaming for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Fill a high-powered blender halfway with vegetable broth. Remove the skin from the pumpkin and combine it with the onion, garlic, sage, cashews, 12 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Blend in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (If the sauce isn’t smooth and creamy, add a little more broth or olive oil and blend for a few minutes longer.)
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package specifications. Before draining the pasta, save 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Return the spaghetti to the saucepan after draining it. Half of the sauce should be added at a time to coat the pasta. To thin the sauce and make it creamy, add 1/4 cup of the leftover pasta water at a time. As desired, add the remaining sauce. Season with extra salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.