Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce | Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce |

This is one of those super simple dinners that started out as a vague idea and ended up as a complete masterpiece.

I went to the store knowing only that I wanted to make something with pasta and canned pumpkin. I picked up a few basic ingredients like broth and arugula and a few new-to-me items like grana padano, a hard, nutty cheese that’s a little milder than parmisiano reggiano, and perciatelli, a delightfully squishy pasta that’s like bucatini’s thinner cousin, and started playing. The result was a quick (20 minutes, most of which is spent waiting for water to boil) dinner that’s perfect as a satisfying dinner for one, a romantic dinner for two, or a crowd pleaser for an impromptu dinner party.

This pasta is perfect on a cold night. It’s blanketed with a rich (yet light!) cream sauce that has a subtly sweet pumpkin flavor that’s balanced out with peppery arugula. The sausage was  last minute addition, but a very welcome one that made a small portion seem more like a meal. You can leave it out if you’d like, but I definitely recommend keeping it in.

As with most simple dishes, the individual ingredients in this really stand out so use the best quality that you can afford. Even just a few cents more for high quality pasta and a sausage or two from the butcher case instead of the freezer will make a world of difference in the final result. No parmesan from a can, ok?

Yields 4

Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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  • 4 ounces Perciatelli, Bucatini, or Spaghetti
  • 4 ounces Sweet Italian Saugage, crumbled
  • 2 cups low sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup Fat Free Half and Half
  • 2 ounces Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Black Pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well, then add pasta. Cook 7 minutes, or as directed by the package. Drain.
  2. Cook the sausage in a large, deep-sided saute pan over medium-high heat until just browned, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and pumpkin. Whisk to combine, then bring to a simmer. Let cook 5 minutes. Stir in the half and half and 1 ounce cheese. Season to taste with crushed red pepper. Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta and arugula. Stir until arugula is wilted, about 1 minute.
  3. Divide pasta between four plates. Top each portion with remaining cheese and black pepper.