Crisp fall weather brings on cravings for rich, warm comfort foods—like a big bowl of creamy pasta. But unlike traditional creamy, cheesy sauces that can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish after eating, our take will energize you and load you up with nutrients. The secret ingredient: pumpkin.
We stirred a whole can of pumpkin puree into this sauce, which along with a creamy texture provides vitamin A, fiber, iron, and loads of other nutrients. This flavorful sauce also contains onions, garlic, a touch of tomato paste for sweetness, and sage for earthiness, while paprika lends a subtle kick. Toasted walnuts on top add crunch, and grated Parmesan brings on the umami.
It's so satisfying, and a little goes a long way. Pair the dish with a green salad for a balanced meal.
Pasta with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (2 oz.)
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz. spaghetti or other pasta
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp.)
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. hot paprika
- 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re lightly toasted and fragrant, shaking pan once or twice while baking. Transfer to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes or as package label directs. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water before draining pasta.
- Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and paprika; stir until combined.
- Add pumpkin and cook, stirring, until well incorporated and warmed through. Add reserved pasta cooking water a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached. Whisk in yogurt and remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; cook until warmed through and butter has melted. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss pasta with sauce. Divide among 4 plates and top with Parmesan and reserved walnuts.