Penne with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

My older sister, Jenny, discovered this amazing looking meal made with cheese tortellini on Handle the Heat and the sauce just sounded so good, I could not pass up this recipe.

This is how my pasta turned out:


Penne with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Here’s what you’ll need:


3 c. Penne pasta (whole wheat is the best!); cooked, save some of the pasta water!
1 tablespoon unsalted Butter
1/4 c. Onion or if you’re feeling fancy, a shallot, finely chopped – (This is the amount I used, but I coulda-shoulda-woulda used more)
1 cup pure Pumpkin Purée (if you go the canned route, avoid pumpkin pie filling)
Some dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spices (Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg, & Cloves) – I have the nifty McCormick’s spice!
Some dashes of dried Sage
1 1/4 cups Half & Half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Here are my little changes to Handle the Heat’s recipe: I decided to cut back a bit on the amount of cheese by using whole wheat penne pasta instead of tortellini and I also changed the heavy cream to half & half for a lighter version! I really love sage so I threw some of that in as well as pumpkin pie spice instead of just plain nutmeg. Because I wanted more pumpkin flavor, I punched up the amount of pumpkin in my dish as well.

photo (8)

Lastly for the fun of it, I also roasted a small sugar pumpkin and made a simple pumpkin purée using Francisco’s easy recipe!

My version of the pasta turned out a little less orange-y which takes a bit of the autumnal feel out of the dish, but it still tasted absolutely amazing!

Here’s how you make it: 

First, get your skillet nice and hot and heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until slightly translucent.

Add the pumpkin, sage, and pumpkin pie spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil – this basically means “right before it’s boiling” – then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened.


A good assessment of thickness of your sauce is by seeing if the mixture begins to coat your wooden spoon while you stir. Then stir in the cheese and cook until thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s important to wait until after the cheese to salt your sauce because the cheese can add a bit of saltiness on its own.


Add the penne pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce, if your sauce seems too thick, try adding the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.

Serve the pasta garnished with some extra parmesan and/or paprika to compliment the color!

This pasta was super creamy and savory. The pumpkin flavor was light and subtle (in Mimi terms that means, it could use a bit more, but maybe you can get that extra flavor with canned pumpkin purée). The penne was a perfect pasta to compliment the alfredo sauce, but feel free to test out other pastas such as fettuccine or fusilli!





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