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Pumpkin pasta with turkey sausage is going to be your go-to weeknight dinner recipe this fall! It’s creamy and savory, with just a touch of sweetness from the pumpkin.
Pumpkin isn’t just for pie and muffins; in fact, pumpkin pasta might just be one of my favorite ways to use pumpkin puree. I’m a huge fan—it makes the creamiest sauce and it’s a nice change of pace from the typical tomato- or cream-based pasta sauces. The earthy flavor of pumpkin cuts the richness of the cream, making for a nicely balanced sauce that doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to lay down and recover after eating.
Of course, you can make this year round, not just in the fall! Pumpkins might only be in stores for a few short months each year, but luckily canned pumpkin is always in season!
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make pumpkin pasta:
- Mild Italian turkey sausage – Ground turkey or ground chicken would work, too. You want leaner meats for this dish so you don’t overpower the delicate, earthy flavor of the pumpkin.
- Bucatini pasta – One of my favorite pasta shapes! I love it in this recipe because it grips the sauce so well.
- Bay leaf
- Fresh sage – Fresh thyme or rosemary would be good, too, if you have those on hand.
- Dry white wine – Or omit and use pasta water instead.
- Chicken stock
- Pumpkin puree – Make sure you don’t buy pie filling!
- Heavy cream – You can omit this or swap in whole milk.
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
Is there a substitute for heavy cream?
You can either omit it or use whole milk. I haven’t tried this with a dairy alternative, but I imagine almond or oat milk would work as well.
How to Make Pumpkin Pasta With Turkey Sausage
Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente, then drain and set aside.
Cook the sausage. Brown the sausage in a large skillet, then transfer it to a bowl. Return the skillet to the stovetop.
Cook the aromatics. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet you used for the sausage. Add the minced garlic and onion and cook until soft and fragrant. Add the bay leaf, sage, and wine, and cook until the wine is reduced by half.
Make the sauce. Add the stock and puree to the skillet and stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cream and sausage, then add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Finish the pumpkin pasta recipe. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Remove the bay leaf and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Tips for Success
This recipe is simple and forgiving, so even if you’re a novice cook, you’ll nail it! Here are some tips for getting it right:
- Use fresh herbs. There is nothing better than fresh herbs in a recipe.
- Choose the right pasta. As noted above, I like bucatini because sauce sticks to it nicely, but pappardelle is always good in creamy recipes, and both penne and rotini will do a decent job holding the pumpkin sauce.
- Use fresh seasoned turkey sausage. It helps bring out the flavors of this dish.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store leftovers of this recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the pasta in the microwave; you can add some additional fresh herbs and Parmesan to liven up the flavor. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this recipe, though.
Pumpkin Pasta Recipe Variations
Pasta recipes are always a great way to experiment with different ingredients and flavor combinations. Here are some other ideas to try:
- Swap the onion for two shallots for a more pronounced flavor.
- Make crispy fried sage for topping the pasta.
- Try Romano, Pecorino, Grana Padano, or Manchego cheese.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans or hazelnuts over the pasta before serving.
Other pumpkin pasta recipes that you may like:
- Cheesy pumpkin and spicy sausage stuffed shells
- Pumpkin mascarpone orecchiette with spicy sausage and broccolini
- Whole wheat gnocchi with brown butter and sage pumpkin sauce
- Pumpkin baked ziti with sage and sausage
Pumpkin Pasta with Turkey Sausage
- 1 pound fresh mild Italian turkey sausage
- ¾ pound bucatini pasta
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-6 leaves sprigs of fresh sage, sliced into chiffonade
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese, grated to top
- In a pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente then drain it and set aside.
- In a large skillet, brown sausage until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced garlic and onion and cook until soft & fragrant – about 5 minutes.
- Add in the bay leaf, sage, and wine and cook until wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and pumpkin puree and stir to mix well. Stir in the cream then add the sausage back in.
- Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and let simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the pasta and stir to get the sauce coated on all the pasta.
- Serve hot (remember to remove the bay leaf) with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Photos by Jamie Vespa