Have you had dinner yet? If not, can I interest you in a very fall-ish comforting bowl of pasta? It’s called pumpkin pasta with bacon, and that’s because it has a creamy pumpkin sauce and is topped with sage, fresh Parmesan and crispy bacon. I mean, are you kidding me? And if there is anything that screams fall, it’s this pasta. Even if you’re not into the whole pumpkin spice thing, I dare you to give this a try because it’ll definitely change your mind.

Pumpkin pasta with bacon in a white bowl

How to make the best pumpkin sauce

This pumpkin sauce is essentially the easiest sauce to make on planet earth. There are no rouxs or blenders or anything crazy – it’s just a simple pan sauce made of pumpkin puree, evaporated milk (you could use half and half or cream), freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a little nutmeg and cayenne to bring it all together. I’ve used a similar combination of milk, stock and spices in other pasta sauces and it seriously never disappoints. Everything just gets whisked together, then tossed with the pasta and topped with bacon, fried sage and more Parmesan.

Please tell me what could possibly go wrong here?!

What pasta should I use with my pumpkin sauce?

I’m a huge fan of fresh pasta when I can get my hands on it. Last time I made a grocery order, they happened to have fresh linguine, so I went for it, and was certainly not disappointed. With that said, I will never snub my nose at a box of dried pasta, either. Whether you go for fresh or dried, just be sure to cook it according to the package directions – al dente. That means when you grab a noodle out of the boiling water and toss it into your mouth, it should feel like it has a little bite to it, but isn’t hard or chewy. It also shouldn’t be done to the point of being mushy. Al dente = perfect.

As far as pasta shape, when it comes to this rich, creamy pumpkin sauce, there really isn’t a wrong shape. But, I like to go for a long flat pasta like fettuccine or linguine. If you’re into the small tubular kind that traps some of the sauce within the noodle, like cavatappi, I will not shun you.

It’s also important to 1) boil a large pot of water (rather than trying to fit a box or bag of pasta in a tiny saucepan – it just doesn’t work) and 2) salt your pasta water, otherwise the pasta isn’t given a real chance to gain flavor. (Yes, the dietitian just told you to salt your pasta water.) The salt also helps the pasta from sticking together. Also make sure the water is at a full boil before adding the pasta. I avoid tossing the pasta in oil after cooking because the sauce then has a hard time adhering to the pasta and just slides right off. But, with that said, if your pasta is going to sit in the colander for a bit before being tossed with the sauce, it would benefit from a little oil so it doesn’t become a giant clump. It really is all about timing here.

Basically I’m saying that with a little sauce whisking, a perfect pot of pasta and lots of fall-ish toppings, you can have pumpkin pasta with bacon in no-time. And you’ll have no regrets.

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Pumpkin Pasta with Bacon

Pumpkin pasta in a white bowl

Pasta with a spiced pumpkin sauce, topped with crispy bacon and sage.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 10-15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15-20 mins
  • Total Time: 25-35 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Holiday
  • Method: Stove-Top
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked whole grain linguini
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 11 ½ cup(s) unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
  • 12 ounces low fat evaporated milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook 4 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Using tongs, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain most of the fat from the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the sage and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin puree, broth, milk, half of the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Allow to cook on medium until heated through. If too thick, add more broth until reach desired thickness. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add pasta and toss to coat.
  3. Transfer pasta to bowls. Garnish pasta with remaining sage, remaining Parmesan and crushed bacon pieces. Serve immediately.

Notes

Cooking Tip: If the sauce is thick when reheating, add a bit of stock to loosen it up.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 332
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 511mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 11mg

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin pasta, bacon, linguine, pasta