This creamy pumpkin alfredo recipe is a delicious twist on the classic pasta dish that brings fall flavors to your dinner table.
Imagine a creamy sauce infused with the subtle and comforting sweetness of pumpkin puree, mingling with garlic and parmesan cheese.
Not only is pumpkin Alfredo a delicious seasonal cozy meal, but it’s also a fast dinner idea that uses leftover canned pumpkin.
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Pumpkin Alfredo with Brown Sage Butter
Although a pumpkin alfredo sauce sounds complicated, we promise you that this dish is simpler than you might think.
With just a handful of ingredients, you can whip up a hearty meal in no time.
From start to finish, the process takes about 30 minutes.
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta Ingredients
Pumpkin Alfredo is a versatile and delicious dish that you can easily customize by swapping or adding ingredients according to your preferences.
Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
Switch up the cream – You may substitute the half-and-half cream with other options like heavy cream for a richer base or whole milk for a lighter version.
Make it dairy-free – Use a dairy-free alternative like almond milk or coconut milk if you prefer. Canned coconut milk would be the optimal choice.
Experiment with pumpkin types – While our Pumpkin Alfredo sauce recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree, you can also try using fresh pumpkin.
Roast or steam a small pumpkin and puree it yourself for a homemade touch.
Incorporate vegetables – Give your Pumpkin Alfredo a nutritional boost by adding your favorite vegetables.
Spinach, kale, or even roasted Brussels sprouts make great additions. You can sauté or steam them and toss them with the pasta and sauce for an easy and tasty variation.
Spice things up – If you’re looking for some added heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper will do the trick. Alternatively, try incorporating herbs rosemary or thyme for an extra layer of flavor.
Add protein – The addition of shrimp or chicken makes this a more satisfying meal. Adding bacon or pancetta enhances the flavor as well.
Have fun experimenting with these ingredient variations and make your Pumpkin Alfredo dish your own!
What Pasta to Use
When making pumpkin alfredo, the choice of pasta will impact the texture of the dish.
Since the pumpkin sauce is usually creamy and flavorful, you should aim for pasta shapes that can hold the velvety pumpkin sauce well.
We recommend fettuccine or pappardelle (what we used in the photos).
Regardless of the pasta shape you choose, always aim to cook it to an “al dente” texture.
Al dente refers to the point at which noodles are cooked through but still firm to the bite. This gives the pasta time to continue cooking as it strains and is added to the sauce, but without going mushy.
Feel free to experiment with other shapes that can hold the sauce well.
Remember to cook your pasta al dente to maximize taste and texture.
Kitchen Tools Needed
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheat it in the microwave, if it’s a little dry you can add a splash of cream or milk to bring it back to life.
How to Make Sage Butter Pumpkin Alfredo
Fill a pot of water, and bring it to a boil. Add your pasta and cook until al dente, be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet.
Add the sage, stir around for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic. It will be ready when the butter browns, along with the garlic.
Add the canned pumpkin, half and half, and nutmeg.
Stir until smooth and it’s at the beginning stage of thickening.
Mix together the parmesan cheese, reserved pasta water (start with less and add as much as needed to thin it to your liking) and stir until velvety.
Toss the al dente pasta into the sauce and top with additional parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.
How to thicken alfredo sauce?
Adding pumpkin puree to your Alfredo sauce not only enhances its flavor but also helps thicken it.
If it’s still not as thick as you would like it, add extra parmesan cheese, and use a little heavy cream.
What can I add to Alfredo to thin it out?
If your Alfredo sauce is too thick and you want to thin it out, add more pasta water.
The starchy water will help maintain the creaminess of the sauce while thinning it to your desired consistency.
Start by adding small amounts of the reserved pasta water and mix well until you reach the desired consistency.
What flavors compliment pumpkin Alfredo sauce?
- Sage: The unique flavor of sage pairs beautifully with pumpkin.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg brings out the sweetness of pumpkin, creating a cozy and comforting combination.
- Cinnamon: A touch of cinnamon can enhance the pumpkin’s natural sweetness and lend a hint of warmth.
- Garlic: Balancing the sweetness with a touch of garlic’s savory and slightly pungent flavor can create a well-rounded taste.
- Parmesan Cheese: The salty and umami-rich profile of Parmesan cheese complements the whole dish and gives it that extra “something”.
- Thyme: The earthy taste of thyme can add depth and balance.
- Pecorino Cheese: Pecorino’s tangy and nutty taste is another option in addition to parmesan.
- Toasted Walnuts or Pecans: These nuts offer a satisfying crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the pumpkin’s natural taste. You can also use pumpkin seeds.
- Crispy Bacon or Prosciutto: The salty and savory qualities of these meats can add a delicious contrast to balance out the sweet.
What to Serve with Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo
Here are some side dish ideas for creamy pumpkin alfredo:
Garlic Roasted Vegetables:
- Choose broccoli florets or Brussels sprouts.
- Toss them in olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Roast in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 20-25 minutes until they’re tender and slightly crispy at the edges.
Mixed Green Salad:
- Use a mix of your favorite fresh greens like spinach, arugula, and lettuce.
- Add colorful veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and red onion.
- Drizzle with a zesty vinaigrette made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.
Garlic Bread or Crusty Baguette:
Warm, garlicky bread will be perfect for soaking up the creamy pumpkin pasta sauce.
- Slice a baguette or your preferred bread.
- Spread a mixture of butter, minced garlic, and chopped parsley on the slices.
- Toast in the oven or on a skillet until golden and crispy.
More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
If you love pasta as much as we do, then you gotta try some of our other recipes:
- Chicken and Spinach Pasta
- Best Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Zucchini Pasta
- See all our easy pasta recipes.
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Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo
- 250 g fettuccine, pappardelle, of your choice of pasta
- 1/4 cup butter we used salted
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 1 cup pumpkin puree canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- Parsley for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once ready, drop the pasta in and cook until al dante (according to the pasta instructions, mine took 5 minutes). Remember to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped fresh sage and stir as the flavors infuse into the butter. Stir until the butter is brown. About 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and stir until the garlic begins to brown, this should take 2-3 minutes.
- Spoon the canned pumpkin into the skillet, along with the half and half cream and stir until it begins to thicken.
- Add the parmesan and the pasta water, but start small (I only needed a 1/4 cup of the pasta water). You can always add more if it's not thin enough.
- Finally toss the cooked pasta into the sauce with tongs and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.