Penne ala vodka...but make it pumpkin! This pumpkin vodka sauce is a little creamy, a little spicy, and full of cozy fall flavors! Best of all, it comes together on the stovetop in just 15 minutes!
As much as I love pumpkin flavored desserts, I think I like savory pumpkin recipes even better! You might also like these fall recipes made with pumpkin!
You just need a handful of simple ingredients to make this creamy pumpkin vodka sauce!
- Pasta - You can use any noodles you prefer for this pumpkin vodka sauce, but I typically go for a penne or rigatoni!
- Pumpkin - I almost exclusively use Libby's Pumpkin because it really is the best of the best! A ton of people have run blind taste tests comparing different brands of pumpkin puree, and Libby's is always the winner! You can also make your own pumpkin puree!
- Nutmeg - Pumpkin and nutmeg is one of my favorite flavor combinations that adds a warming flavor to the mac and cheese.
- Red pepper flakes - I love adding just a little red pepper for some heat, but you can leave it out if desired.
- Vodka - You can use any neutral, unflavored vodka! I always use Tito's because that's what I like to drink!
[I forgot to add the shallot and garlic to the photo, but they're both essential!!]
How to Make Pumpkin Vodka Sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions (I recommend cooking 1-2 minutes less than the box time so it's slightly al dente). Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes until aromatic and just beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the vodka, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook for about 1 minute.
Add in the heavy cream, sage, and nutmeg then reduce the heat to low.
Stir occasionally and continue to cook until the sauce begins to simmer and thickens slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Add in the cooked pasta and toss to coat in the sauce.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan cheese and crispy sage if desired.
The sauce is made with vodka, but all of the alcohol evaporates during cooking!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
If you make this recipe, please leave a star rating at the bottom of the page! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, scratch-made recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Pumpkin Vodka Sauce
- 16 ounces pasta, penne or rigatoni
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup vodka
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- Cook pasta according to package directions (I recommend cooking 1-2 minutes less than the box time so it's slightly al dente). Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes until aromatic and just beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the vodka, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add in the heavy cream, sage, and nutmeg then reduce the heat to low.
- Stir occasionally and continue to cook until the sauce begins to simmer and thickens slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Add in the cooked pasta and toss to coat in the sauce.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan cheese and crispy sage if desired.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.