This Pumpkin Penne alla Vodka just might be the perfect fall pasta recipe. The rich and creamy sauce is made from real pumpkin, plenty of fresh sage and garlic, and a splash of real vodka for a deep, decadent flavor. This pasta will leave you feeling so warm and satisfied. It’s sure to be a seasonal favorite.
This dish has got to be my favorite pumpkin recipe this season, hands down. Penne alla vodka is already such a delicious and classic pasta. But swap out the tomato for pumpkin and add some warm fall aromatics, and it takes the dish to a whole new level.
When I say this recipe is indulgent, I mean it, but in the best way. This pasta feels like belly-warming comfort food, but it’s made from more pumpkin than anything else. So it’s not overly heavy, but actually has the perfect flavor and texture. Smooth, creamy, with bites of fried sage and caramelized onions, plus plenty of parmesan cheese… I literally can’t get enough of it.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, let me also add that this recipe can be ready in just 20 minutes. The simple pumpkin vodka sauce comes together in basically the time it takes for the penne to cook to al dente. A quick toss, and it’s ready to dig in. Keep scrolling for the simple recipe!
Making some pumpkin penne magic…
This recipe comes together in just a few quick steps, and involves some simple and masterful multitasking. Start by sprinkling a generous handful of salt into a pot of water and bring it to a boil.
While the water is heating up, add some butter to a pan over medium high heat. Once the butter melts and starts to bubble, throw in a diced up shallot, some garlic, freshly chopped sage and a dash of red pepper flakes. Let me warn you now, this combination smells heavenly and is likely to induce a kitchen trance.
Anyways, once everything is soft and the onions are starting to caramelized, add a splash of vodka to the ban and let it bubble away for a few minutes, cooking off the hard alcohol.
At this point, your water should be getting close to boiling, add the pasta noddles in, and cook them for about 8 minutes until they are al dente.
Back to the sauce. Stir in a fresh pumpkin purée and a splash of heavy cream. I also like to sprinkle in some nutmeg for some added warmth. Add in a handful of grated parmesan cheese as well. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper and let it continue cooking on low heat, stirring frequently.
When your noodles reach al dente, drain and add them straight to the pan with the sauce, making sure to reserve about a half cup of pasta water. Turn off the heat and toss everything together to evenly coat the noodles. If your sauce seems too thick, slowly add pasta water and toss until the sauce reaches a smoothly creamy texture.
Serve this pasta up with a fresh sage garnish and some more fresh parmesan cheese! The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days and can be reheated in the microwave.
Let me know if you give this Pumpkin Penne alla Vodka a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Pumpkin Penne alla Vodka
- 1 Pound Penne
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Shallot Minced
- 1/2 Red Onion Finely diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Tsp Fresh Sage Chopped
- 3 Tbsp Vodka
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Purée
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook Penne for about 5-8 minutes until al dente. Drain the pasta, saving about half a cup of pasta water.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot, red onion, sage and crushed red pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft, fragrant and browning.
- Add the vodka and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Lower heat to medium-low, add pumpkin, heavy cream, nutmeg, and grated parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add penne to the skillet. Toss to combine, adding in pasta water until you achieve the thickness you like. Serve immediately, garnished with more fresh parmesan and sage, if desired.