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Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni

A thirty minute pasta with creamy, velvety autumnal flair.

To me, a silky, creamy, indulgent pasta dish always hits the spot. Always. And while it’s easy to turn to Fettuccine Alfredo to meet those needs, it’s far from the only choice in that arena. Take this Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni, for instance. It takes chewy rigatoni and coats it in a velvety, creamy sauce that balances the sweetness of pumpkin with garlic and cream and a crispy sage and pecan topping that you’ll be looking to put on everything. It has the same satisfying silkiness of an Alfredo, but with an incredibly tasty autumnal flair. (And don’t worry, there’s no squash to roast first. This is easy all the way.)

I love a sweet and salty combo, and this dish does that balance incredibly well. Canned pumpkin puree is mixed with heavy cream, butter, garlic, nutmeg, and Parmesan in a quick pan sauce that won’t take you more than ten minutes. And yes, that means you don’t have to deal with seeding and peeling and cubing and roasting any squash.

While the pasta cooks, you make the topping, which just might be the piece de resistance here. While a topping can often seem like a chore, this one is just a matter of roasting some very finely chopped pecans in the oven and then tossing them in some melted butter, chopped sage, brown sugar, and a bit of salt. It doesn’t add any time to the rest of the dish and it’s so worth it.

The sauce has just a hint of sweetness thanks to the pumpkin and that’s echoed by the brown sugar in the topping, but it’s so well balanced by the richness of the cream and the savory nature of the parm. It’s silky, it’s unique, it’s delicious.

This is one of those dishes that only takes thirty minutes to make and yet you’d never guess it. It’s a nice change from your basic pasta dinner and if you have a can of pumpkin on hand, it’s so easy to throw together at a moment’s notice! (And don’t skip that topping. In fact – use it on chicken, or pork chops, or baked sweet potatoes, or whatever you can dream up.)

Serves 6

10m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
For the topping:
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pulse pecans in a food processor until very finely chopped. Spread out on a baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, add to a bowl, and toss with melted butter, sage, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
  5. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce:
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over low heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, just 1 minute. Stir in pumpkin and cream and simmer until sauce has reached desired thickness.
  7. Add nutmeg and parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked pasta.
  8. Serve pasta topped with pecan crumble, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum.

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