Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce Recipe

Fall flavors in a pasta sauce.

Pumpkin PArmesan Sauce

The perfect fall flavors – in a pasta sauce.

Got leftover pumpkins? There are tons of great pumpkin cake and pumpkin bread recipes out there, but I wanted to try something different, something savory. Hey! If  Williams-Sonoma sells “Pumpkin Parmesan Sauce,” it’s gotta be good, right?  It sounded so intriguing that I just had to create a pumpkin sauce in my kitchen.

Pumpkin is delicious as a savory ingredient – I love pumpkin curries and soups, so trying a sauce seemed very doable. The flavors of pumpkin and Parmesan are so complimentary – this is a warm and earthy sauce, something new and unexpected on pasta. We served it on cheese ravioli and fell in love with this sauce. I’ll definitely be making it again!


Makes 6 to 8 servings.

1 medium pumpkin, halved, seeds and strings removed*
A little olive oil spray
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika**
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup half and half
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut pumpkin into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Spray with oil. Bake at top of oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until fork tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove skin and then mash pumpkin, making about 4 cups total mashed.

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, saute onion in butter for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Add in sage, vinegar, paprika, vegetable stock and mashed pumpkin. Bring to a simmer and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Stir in half and half  and turn off heat. Stir in cheese a little at a time, until melted into soup. Blend with a stick blender or blend in batches in a blender.

Serve warm over cooked pasta, with parsley and a little additional cheese as a garnish.

* NOTE: You can make this recipe even easier by using 4 cups of canned pumpkin puree.

** I added sweet paprika because I like a darker brick color. If you want the more natural, light-orange pumpkin look, you can skip the paprika.

— posted by Donna


  1. Cathy says

    Thank you :) It worked really well and was delicious! I will definately make it again, in fact, im making it tomorow night for my husband and his niece x

  2. Daniel says

    @ the demonstration, the chef used one whole can of the sauce with their pumpkin noodles, and prepared it with one stick of unsalted butter (which he considered “a bit”) and nearly one half-jar of heavy whipping cream (which he used to get all of the sauce out of the jar)

  3. Daniel says

    thanks! This sauce was used in a cooking demonstration @ WS last month and i can’t convince myself to spend $14 on a jar of sauce… i thought of trying to make it myself but wouldn’t even know where to start…

  4. says

    I think I would use one of those large cans of pumpkin. It will have more liquid, so try cutting back a little on the vegetable stock. You can always add more if you need it.

    Also, the canned stuff is darker in color, so you probably won’t need paprika for color.

    • Tony says

      Canned pumpkin is most commonly a type of squash, similar to acorn squash, chosen for yield, color, and flavor. Due to variations in pumpkins types, I don’t know if it is safe to say that the canned pumpkin will have more water or not, and for the life of me I can’t come up with an ideal way to use the nutritional information to calculate a good conversion. Normally I would encourage finding solid content by relating it to calories, but what really varies from pumpkin to pumpkin is sugar content and fiber (water soluble and non soluble.) What I keep around is pumpkins from November 1st, that I get for free from local grocery stores. I process them by peeling, cutting, boiling, draining, blending and then pressing. What I am left with is about the consistency of playdough, but has a much lower sugar content and higher fiber content than any canned pumpkin I have ever had.

      I think it is fair to say that it is all really preference (the texture), and the stock and dairy are the places to tweak it. You could buy yourself a lot of insurance by adding a small amount of flour in with the butter, before the onions, but you may have to cook it for a bit longer while the flour browns, and not to hot so that you burn your butter…

    • says

      I used cheese ravioli, because that’s what I had in my freezer. But if I were choosing a pasta, it would be one that holds a lot of sauce. I would choose maybe a shell shaped pasta. I like Barilla brand pastas, because they have tiny ridges on the individual pieces, which improves the ability of the sauce to cling to the pasta. If you’re looking for low carbs, I recommend Dreamfields – only 5 carbs per serving – and so delicious!

  5. soulstar says

    unfortunately real parmesan is a cheese that isn’t vegetarian, as it is one of those cheeses made with rennet, an enzyme that is extracted from the stomach lining of newborn calves.

    but good recipe aside from that.

  6. Connie says

    Thank you!! I bought the sauce from WS, and ended up making a lasagna with it by simply subing it for the tomato sauce. (I also used sage in the cheese instead of italian seasoning) It was fab, and I wanted to make it again, but I knew I couldn’t keep buying WS sauce. I’m thrilled to have a recipe to try to make the sauce myself!!

  7. Donna says

    Thanks to you both. This was a surprise for me – it sounded a little weird, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but being an adventurous foodie, I gave it a try and it is fab!

  8. says

    How interesting! I’m a “new” lover of pumpkin, didn’t come around till last year. I still am not crazy about standard pumpkin pie, but love it in muffins, cakes and cookies, and of course cheesecake :)


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