Sometimes being a pretty decent home cook is a double-edged sword when we are out to eat.  I’m certainly no food critic, but occasionally a restaurant dish will fall short because I know we could have made it better at home.  Last fall we traveled to Vermont and had a very nice dinner at a very nice restaurant…except for my entree.  It was fine, but not great, and definitely did not fulfill its potential.  A pasta dish with roasted pumpkin and a browned butter sauce – that has all kinds of potential.

This fall I was waiting quite impatiently for pie pumpkins to be available so I could try my hand at this dish.  I’m happy to report this version was much more what I had hoped for the first time around.  The roasted pumpkin is creamy and slightly sweet, and when paired with the slightly nutty browned butter sauce, the combination is truly mouth-watering.  The grated Gruyere is a semi-optional serving suggestion, but Ben and I agreed that it took this dish to another level.  This is an easy yet sophisticated meal that is ideal for fall entertaining.  Enjoy!

Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!


For the pasta:
1 (2 lb.) sugar (pie) pumpkin
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. pasta shapes, such as orchiette
8 oz. baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried

For the sauce:
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated cheese for serving, such as Gruyere or Parmesan


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Halve, seed, and peel the pumpkin.  Chop into ½-inch pieces.  Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender, tossing once during cooking.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente.  Drain well.

  • 03

    While the pasta is cooking, first wilt the spinach leaves.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the spinach to the pan with a few drops of water.  Cover the pan and let heat just for a minute or two, until wilted, stirring as needed.  Remove the spinach to a plate and set aside.  Return the skillet to the heat.

  • 04

    To make the sauce, add the butter to the skillet over medium heat.  Let melt and then heat the butter, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it).  Once the butter is browned, stir in the thyme leaves, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the spinach leaves and squash.  Toss the sauce mixture with the drained pasta.  Serve warm with grated Gruyere or Parmesan, if desired.
  • I cannot get enough pumpkin recipes and love adding to my savory collection, as well as the sweet. This looks like a warm plate of fall flavor. Yum!

  • morgan dufford

    I am definitely bringing this to Friendsgiving, thank you! It sounds perfect :)

  • Kelsey

    Heck yes! Annie, this looks perfect.

  • Vanessa F.

    I know just what you mean about being disappointed with restaurant dishes you know you could make better at home! I have a butternut squash that’s been waiting for inspiration, and I bet I could substitute. ??

  • This is a beauty!

  • Lokness @ The Missing Lokness

    Very excited to try this out, especially with the browned butter sauce. Do you think it will be good with Japanese pumpkin? It is also very sweet.

  • This dish is so perfectly fall. Love the simplicity that allows the scrumptious ingredients to speak for themselves.

  • annieseats

    I’m not familiar with Japanese pumpkin, so I can’t comment on the difference. Enjoy!

  • Heidi Rhyner

    I’m always disappointed when I eat at restaurants so I’ve made it a rule to only order dishes that my family won’t eat, therefore I don’t make often, if ever. This pasta dish looks amazing and I must try it!

  • I’ve never tasted a sugar pumpkin, or any non-canned pumpkin for that matter, so I’d love to get your thoughts on a potential substitution: butternut squash. I use butternut squash and pumpkin interchangeably in a lot of recipes, but being unfamiliar with this variety of pumpkin I thought I’d ask your opinion. I have a package of already chopped up butternut squash in my fridge at the moment, otherwise I’d probably just track down one of these pumpkins :)

    This pasta looks insanely delicious!

  • This sounds phenomenal!

  • Kelly

    Would you mind sharing where you found orecchiette? I adore that pasta shape, but I simply cannot find it at any store within a fifty mile radius!

  • annieseats

    I buy it at Whole Foods. I think Trader Joe’s also has it.

  • Caroline L.

    Pasta is my weakness… I just can’t say no.

  • Guest

    Looks delicious. Think this would work with acorn squash instead of the pumpkin? I have a glut of acorn squash from my CSA!

  • annieseats

    I’m sure you could, though of course the flavor will be a bit different. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    I personally prefer pumpkin to butternut squash, but I’m sure you could use either. Enjoy!

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    This looks amazing! i don’t know why, but orechiette is my favorite pasta :)

  • this looks swell; will make this soon

  • Loretta E

    I love the flavors you used in the sauce! The combination sounds incredible!

  • This looks fantastic! I adore brown butter. Love all the fall-inspired flavors!

  • Stefanie

    This dish is so simple and delicious! I made it last weekend and am going to make it again today :) I used less butter and butternut squash that I had on hand, and it was wonderful. Perfect Fall dish.

  • sweetsugarbelle

    Woo hoo! I have three sugar pumpkins left!!! I guess I know what’s for dinner!!!

  • Since I had a sugar pumpkin left and wanted to try something new I made this wonderful dish last night. It turned out great, flavorful and preparation was so easy. My hubby loved it too; I will definitely make it again soon!

  • ReneesRestaurant

    I used a butternut pumpkin, also I had to use what was in the pantry so I used dried thyme and no spinach. It was still really delicious and that recipe fed 5 mouths. Seconds all round!

  • Kaitlin

    I just made it with butternut squash (all I had) and it was amazing! So easy and quick, too!

  • Cara

    Made this tonight and it was a huge hit all around! I was exceptionally happy because it was my first time making browned butter sauce and I didn’t burn the butter!!ha Thanks for another fab recipe to add to my repertoire! :)