Bacon, crispy sage, pumpkin, and pasta are swirled together in this easy and beautiful Easy Creamy Pumpkin Pasta!
Oh yes, we are so going there today.
If your pumpkin quota hasn’t been met for the week, then let this easy pasta recipe adorn your dinner table for those crisp fall evenings.
What does this pumpkin sauce taste like?
Pumpkin on its own doesn’t really have much flavor. For dessert recipes, pumpkin needs spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and sweetness.
But for this savory pumpkin pasta I like to add smoky flavor from smoked paprika and bacon, a little heat from red pepper flakes, and sauteed red onions and crispy sage.
For the creamy aspect we have cream cheese and pecorino romano cheese, which can be subbed with parmesan.
I reserved the bacon fat to be the base for the sauce, so if you want a lighter sauce, then drain and add olive oil instead.
In short, this sauce is creamy, spicy, smoky, and a little cheesy…mmm.
How to make crispy sage
Raw sage leaves are too potent (pictured below), but crisping them up gives them great texture and mellows out their flavor. I first fry the bacon, then remove it from the pan.
Then on medium-low heat I add the sage leaves to crisp up in the bacon fat. It only takes a couple of minutes or less to crisp the sage, so don’t walk away from the pan.
Making the sauce
I like to use the same pan for the sauce that I cooked the bacon in since those yummy bacon bits are in the bottom of the pan. You can use the bacon fat in the pan for the sauce, or you can drain it and add olive oil instead. Either way, you’ll still have the bacon flavor in the pan.
Saute the red onion, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes together for 2-3 minutes until the red onions are softened.
Add the pumpkin puree and cream cheese and simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened.
Add the cooked penne pasta with reserved pasta water to help thin the sauce a bit.
Top with some pecorino romano cheese (my personal favorite) or shredded parmesan. Add the crumbled bacon and crispy sage, and you have my absolute FAVORITE savory pumpkin dish ever!
More delicious pumpkin recipes
For the perfect holiday pie, try this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie with a Gingersnap Crust.
Bon Appetit Ya’ll,
Easy Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 lb (16 0z) penne pasta or pasta of choice
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 8-10 fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 cup pasta water reserved
- 1/2 heaping cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg freshly grated is best
- 1 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional, or sub with hot sauce of choice
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water for the sauce.
- While the pasta water is boiling, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon. Drain the bacon and reserve the fat for the sauce. If you want a lighter sauce, discard the bacon fat and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil instead.
- When the bacon is done, remove from the pan and add the sage leaves. Get them crispy on both sides. Don’t walk away, as this happens pretty quickly. Set aside the sage leaves.
- While the pasta and bacon are cooking, chop the red onion, and shred the cheese. Measure the pumpkin and cream cheese.
- To make the sauce, keep the pan on medium heat. Add the red onion, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant (making sure not to burn the red onion!). Add the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, nutmeg, and reserved pasta water. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken. Lower the heat if it is boiling heavily.
- Cook the pasta until just under al dente, as we will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Drain your pasta and have it ready to go. Add the pasta and stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately and top with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and crumbled crispy sage.