Creamy Pumpkin Pasta – Create Your Own

Inspired by the work of Utah State University Extension and their Create Better Health series of recipes, specifically their Create a Skillet Meal handout, this create-your-own Creamy Pumpkin Pasta is a good choice for a few reasons:

The photo shows the recipe on the left with fresh rosemary, cooked on the stovetop and the right shows the recipe with nutmeg and crushed red pepper cooked in an electric skillet with deep sides and glass lid.

  • It’s fast and easy
  • The pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A
  • It’s adult – and child – approved!
  • It’s easy to adapt this basic recipe to meet your family’s needs and preferences:
    • Choose low-sodium broth
    • Add your own protein – from cooked chicken to a vegetarian version with Cannellini beans
    • Choose your favorite seasonings


Basic Recipe for One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Approximately 4 servings

Pasta – 8 oz pasta (linguine, penne or egg noodles)
Broth – 4 cups (can choose low-sodium, vegetarian, etc.)
Canned Pumpkin – 2 cups (1 – 15-oz can pumpkin)
Cheese – 4 oz (cream cheese, goat cheese or mascarpone)
Pepper – ¼ teaspoon
Choose Seasonings
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg OR 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
• 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Decide on optional ingredients:
• Optional (to cook in the one-pot recipe): ½ medium onion (about 1 cup) and 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic, salt to taste
• Optional: (to add to the pot towards the end) a large handful of fresh chopped greens such as spinach, arugula, swiss chard to cook or wilt towards the end
• Optional (to garnish): fresh parsley, parmesan cheese

1. Choose your favorite one-pot cooking method: either a large, heavy pot on the stovetop or a medium to large size electric skillet with a glass lid.

2. Add pasta, broth, pumpkin, pepper, and dry seasonings to the pot. (if choosing to use onions and or garlic, add this also).

3. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook. Stir frequently, until the liquid is almost completely evaporated (approximately 10 minutes). The pasta should be tender and the sauce will start to thicken.

4. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese until it is melted and combined. If using fresh chopped greens or fresh rosemary, add it at this point. Let sit a few minutes for the sauce to thicken.

5. Serve with (optional) garnishes like fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

Other versions of this recipe can be found here and  here.

Pumpkin Spice Season

Variety of winter squash and commercially canned pumpkin

Winter Squash. Fresh, Frozen or Canned?

My favorite family pumpkin story is about the generation below me and the generation above me. When my oldest daughter was in sixth grade, they had an assignment to choose a recipe, make it and present and share it with the class.  She looked through all the cookbooks in our kitchen and finally decided on a recipe for Pumpkin Cookies.  I was a little surprised, but pleased that she chose the recipe from the black and white covered, plastic ring bound, 1996 cookbook produced by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition.  The title of the book is From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh, Seasonal Produce.

The recipe looked easy enough and included two cups of cooked pumpkin. We shopped for the ingredients and talked about the difference in pumpkin varieties for carving Jack-o-lanterns verses eating.  My memory of the pumpkin cookies is that we were baking trays and trays of cookies all day long. Her memory of the pumpkin cookies is that when she told her grandmothers about it, they both asked the same question, “why didn’t you use canned pumpkin?”  She asked in amazement “there’s canned pumpkin?” I think she thought I had tricked her into using fresh pumpkin.  In my mind, the recipe was from a farm-fresh, seasonal produce book …. why wouldn’t we bake a pumpkin?

I do use canned pumpkin for many recipes, from pancakes to soup, especially if I’m pressed for time. I also love buying pie pumpkins and other winter squash from our fall and winter farmers’ market.  My kiddos know where their food comes from and they know some short-cuts to get a healthy meal on the table.