pasta with pumpkin-sage cream sauce

by Amy on 26 October 2011

one of my favorite things about fall is the awesome autumn flavors that come out of hibernation — apples, pears, cranberries, caramel, + of course, pumpkin! this past weekend, my husband + i picked our own pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch, which inspired me to try making a savory pumpkin pasta for the first time. a quick look at our herb garden revealed tons + tons of sage, begging to be used, so i decide to cook up an pumpkin-sage cream sauce for pasta.

+ the result? the pumpkin-sage cream sauce is incredibly delicious — flavorful, rich + decadent. the pumpkin flavor is present without being overpowering, while the sage adds a lovely herby note. it paired wonderfully with cheese tortellini for a vegetarian-friendly meal, although for meat-lovers, it would also be perfect with a sausage-filled tortellini or ravioli. i’ll definitely be making this awesome pasta dish again next time i’m craving a seasonal fall comfort food meal.

for visual proof that i went to a pumpkin patch, see below. see? amy. + pumpkins!

pumpkin-sage cream sauce

makes 1 1/4 cups sauce, adapted from country living


1 cup heavy cream (* or half+half, see note below)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
16 fresh sage leaves, sliced into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

*note: in the original recipe, reviewers said they successfully used half+half instead of heavy cream, which is about 1/3 of the fat of heavy cream. while i used heavy cream, i’ll try half+half next time + report back on how it turns out. or let me know how it is if you try it with half+half!


combine the cream, pumpkin puree, parmesan, sage, salt, + pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat. simmer the mixture until slightly thickened, 10 – 12 minutes. remove from heat + stir in butter. toss with cooked pasta + serve immediately.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl October 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

Oh my, this looks fantastic! I’ve never tried a pumpkin-based sauce, but I’m definitely going to have to try this out. Your pictures are great, too, by the way! And you are so cute–looks like you had a great time at the pumpkin patch!

2 amy October 26, 2011 at 8:25 am

we had a wonderful time at the pumpkin patch – it was a lot of fun. =) i think this was the first pumpkin-based pasta sauce i’d ever eaten, too, + really loved it!

3 Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook October 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

Fun and cute photo of you with the pumpkins :)

Any pasta that is creamy is a win, but this looks great with the pumpkin.

4 amy October 26, 2011 at 8:43 am

thanks, chris! i was really impressed with how well with pumpkin vibed with the sage + cream – it turned out delicious!

5 Leah | So, How's It Taste? October 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

Amy, this sounds incredible and I can’t believe how simple it is. I’m going to have to make this soon!

6 amy October 26, 2011 at 9:17 am

i couldn’t believe how easy it was either! as a nice perk, the flavors meld together even better after a day or two, so it makes for delish leftovers.

7 Jessica @ Cajunlicious October 26, 2011 at 9:18 am

Amy you are so cute with the pumpkins and this dish, wow! I will be making this one for the holidays, bookmarked!!!

8 amy October 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

aww, thanks jessica. =) so glad you’ll be trying this dish out – hope it turns out wonderfully for you!

9 alexandra @ sweet betweens October 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

Amy! This is now at the top of my list for our next pasta night..yum!

10 amy October 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

awesome! it’s definitely hearty + savory enough to appeal to both vegetarians + non-vegetarians, which was one of the things i loved about it. plus, you could always add a bit of grilled or crumbled sausage for the meat-eaters. =)

11 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee October 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

Sounds like a wonderful fall dish. Love the presentation.

12 amy October 26, 2011 at 11:33 am

thanks so much, steph! i thought the pumpkin colors did work beautifully with the aqua color of the dish. =)

13 Ally Garner October 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Holy cow, so much to comment on! Amy, seriously this is probably one of the most original pumpkin recipes I’ve seen all season. I love this idea pof making a pumpkin sauce for pasta and adding in delicious sage. YUM. I agree with Chris, any pasta that’s creamy is a win. A huge win in my book. And I love that blue plate you used in the photo – that’s just beautiful! As well as that cute photo of you with the pumpkins. You are so gorgeous Amy – great pic!

14 amy October 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

thank you so much, ally! your comments totally made my day. =) isn’t the blue plate just lovely? i picked it up from a local artisan craft fair this past weekend + totally want to go back + buy tons of her other plates + servingware. such gorgeous stuff!

15 New York Diaries October 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

this looks so incredibly yummy! great work!

16 amy October 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

thanks so much, megan. it was, in fact, super yummy. =)

17 kristen @ notsodomesticated October 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Ooh I like this recipe because it looks amazing and requires minimal ingredients! Great idea!

18 amy October 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

even though i’m not as daunted by a long ingredient list as i used to be, it’s always sooo refreshing to see a short ingredient list. gotta love any recipe that only requires a couple ingredients from the store!

19 The Waspy Redhead October 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I love pairing pumpkin & sage! I made pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce last weekend and I’m craving those flavors again. This recipe is exactly how I like to cook, thanks for sharing!

20 amy October 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

isn’t it a great flavor combination? i love the sound of your ravioli + browned butter sage sauce – hope to see it on your blog soon (please, pretty please). =)

21 Heather October 27, 2011 at 7:42 am

oh sweet heavens, I am making that asap! another drool worthy post, amy!

22 amy October 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

thanks, heather — let me know how it turns out for you!

23 lesley October 27, 2011 at 10:30 am

Oh, yummy. I will have to try this. But I will probably sub thyme in for the sage. I have thyme (and I like it better than sage). Hope that will work!

24 amy October 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

i think thyme would work wonderfully with pumpkin – it’ll be more subtle than sage, but should still be deeelicious! let me know how it works out. =)

25 Lauren October 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

Has anyone tried this with half and half or dried sage? This looks really good but I have a hard time finding fresh sage and am wondering about the lighter calorie version. Thanks!

26 amy October 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

hi Lauren – you can definitely use half + half – just see my note at the end of the ingredient list about it. =) + you can substitute about 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. dried sage instead of the fresh sage. hope this helps!

27 BreAna {Sugar & Spice & All Things Iced} October 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

Wow! This sounds incredible! I’ve never cooked a savory dish with pumpkin before, but I think I’ll have to give this a try. What a great fall comfort food!

28 amy October 27, 2011 at 11:42 am

i love savory pumpkin dishes so i had a pretty good hunch i’d love it even before i made it. =) definitely let me know how it is if you try it!

29 natalie (the sweets life) October 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

i have sage growing outside that i NEED to use before it all dies in the frost!! this would be a great way to use it :)

30 amy October 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

awesome! i used our garden’s sage, too + it added such a nice, fresh, herby flavor to the creamy, savory pasta. i’m getting hungry now!

31 Emma October 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I love pumpkin patches! And i have never tried pumpkin with pasta before, but perhaps I should 😉

32 amy October 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm

this was my first pumpkin patch experience + i thought it was super fun. we lucked out that it was a sunny, beautiful day — it’s hard not to love an activity when it’s outdoors on a gorgeous day. definitely let me know if you try pumpkin + pasta — you might just love it!

33 Jess October 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Yummmmm! I love pumpkin anything, but especially with cream sauce and sage!!!

34 amy October 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

agree – you really can’t go wrong with cream sauce or fresh herbs. or especially the two combined. =)

35 LeAndra October 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I was so glad to see this, and even more happy to hear it turned out delicious! I wouldn’t have considered the Parmesan and sage combination, so that was neat to read in the recipe too.

36 amy October 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

yeah, i was skeptical about how well the parm-pumpkin-sage combo would work, but it did. and i’m so glad it did! =)

37 Sherri @ The Kitchen Prescription October 28, 2011 at 5:32 am

amy, that looks amazing. what a great idea. I have been adding pumpkin to my sweets, but never once in the tiny brain of mine did I think of adding it to a savory dish. I’m craving a bite of your plate! Wish I would have saw this post last night. My b/f and I needed a quick after work meal, so we made pasta shrimp scampi. I would have preferred this instead. Next time!

haha cute pic at the pumpkin patch.

38 amy October 28, 2011 at 11:34 am

i bet your shrimp scampi was absolutely amazing anyway! next time you’re craving pasta, you’ll have to experiment with a savory pumpkin pasta — i bet you’ll love it!

39 Carroll @ Vanilla Lemonade October 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Looks like a perfectly fall supper!

40 amy October 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

absolutely – pumpkin always screams fall to me!

41 NanAppetit November 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Looks really good! And vegetarian to boot!

42 amy November 3, 2011 at 9:29 am

thanks, nancy! even though i’m not a vegetarian anymore, we still like to eat vegetarian quite a bit. + this dish is so packed with flavor that it’s satisfying to both vegetarians + meat-eaters alike. =)

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