We all know that I. love. pasta. But I especially love vodka sauce pasta! I treasure the way the sauce, creamy with a hint of spice, just so easily clings to the pasta for a perfect bite. So, naturally, I decided to create a version of this sauce with pumpkin instead of tomato. The pumpkin adds an earthy, comforting flavor, and it’s balanced nicely by garlic, onion, chili flakes, and half-and-half. This creamy pumpkin sauce is easy and delicious, and it’s a great addition to your weeknight dinner menus!
How do we make creamy pumpkin vodka pasta?
Saute garlic, onion, and a little chili flakes in oil until aromatic.
Add pumpkin puree and let caramelize slightly.
Whisk in cream and let simmer for a few minutes.
Stir in cooked pasta and cheese, and enjoy!
Swaps and Substitutions
You can play around with the sauce as you’d like.
Use more or less pumpkin puree depending on the consistency of the sauce that you’d like. For a thinner, creamier sauce with less “pumpkin” flavor, use less puree.
Swap out the pumpkin for butternut squash puree.
Omit the vodka if you’d prefer not to use it!
Can I make this pumpkin pasta vegan?
I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard feedback that you can, indeed, make a delicious vegan pumpkin pasta sauce from this recipe. To make a vegan version, you can sub the cream for cashew cream.
What can I do with leftover canned pumpkin puree?
This recipe uses 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, so you’ll have some leftover. Leftover pumpkin puree can be used to make a smoothie or milkshake, pancakes, or even mixed into cream cheese to spread on your bagels!
How to reheat creamy pumpkin vodka pasta
If you have any leftover pumpkin pasta, you can reheat it on the stove. Add the pasta to a saute pan and stir in a couple tablespoons of warm milk or cream. Gently heat and stir frequently the pasta until the sauce warms through and clings to the pasta.
Did you try this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback! Be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Creamy Pumpkin Vodka Pasta Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, or calabrian chili paste, use half if you like things less spicy!
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup canned, or fresh pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup vodka, optional, omit if desired
- 1 cup heavy cream, warmed to room temperature to prevent the sauce from breaking
- 8 ounces dried, short pasta, preferably rigatoni
- 1/2 cup loosely packed grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping
- A handful of basil leaves, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil to medium-low heat. Add garlic and red chili flakes, and saute for 1 minute until aromatic.
- Add onion, and saute for 7 to 8 minutes until soft and translucent. If the bottom of the pan begins to brown, you can gently scrape the bits with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add pumpkin puree and cook down for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently, until any remaining moisture evaporates from the puree.
- Add vodka. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates and the smell dissipates.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, then stir in heavy cream. Let simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add your pasta to boiling water and let cook until just before al dente. Make sure to reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
- Season pumpkin sauce with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to the sauce. Add cheese and stir pasta into sauce. Loosen the sauce with a few tablespoons of pasta water, then let cook for 1 to 2 minutes until sauce looks glossy and clings to the pasta. Season again with salt and pepper as needed.
- Divide among serving bowls, and top with basil leaves and additional cheese if desired.