Taking time to relax has never been a strength of mine. As I’m sure is evident from my numerous hobbies and interests, I just don’t sit still well. I’m fine with this aspect of my personality and for the most part, I embrace it. When my body forces me to relax, my mind often has a hard time adjusting. Recently I had one of those days when all I could manage was sitting around, reading and knitting. All of my plans for workouts and kitchen projects were set aside. By evening I was finally starting to feel well enough to consider cooking dinner, but my original dinner plan just didn’t sound good to me. Then I remembered a recipe for pumpkin pasta I had seen around this time last year. It seemed quick, easy, and actually sounded good. Problem solved!

This dish is absolutely fantastic and is such a wonderful fall dinner. Garlic, onion and red pepper flakes add plenty of flavor and a bit of spice to the sauce, while thyme and a dash of nutmeg compliment the pumpkin and bring the whole dish together.  This was an all around hit that I’m sure will be making many more appearances on our table throughout the coming months.


  • 1 lb. pasta shapes, such as rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped


  • 01

    Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until al dente.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme leaves. Sauté just until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Lower the heat to medium. Add in the pumpkin puree, heavy cream and whole milk and stir until smooth. Add the nutmeg, season generously with salt and pepper, and stir in the Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

  • 03

    1 minute before the pasta is finished cooking, add the chopped chard to the pot and stir in to wilt the leaves. Drain the pasta and the chard, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and chard to the pan with the pumpkin sauce and toss well until evenly combined. If necessary, add in a bit of the reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Serve warm with extra grated Parmesan.


  • Amanda Smith

    This looks delicious! Do you think that canned pumpkin would work well here or would you recommend taking the time to make my own puree? Thank you, as always, for the time you spend to bring us new recipes!

  • annieseats

    Canned pumpkin would definitely be fine but this is one instance when I think homemade would probably be better if you have time for it. In most baked goods, I don’t think it matters but since the pumpkin is the main ingredient in the sauce, I think the homemade gives it better flavor.

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    This looks delicious! I’ve never had pumpkin in a savor dish before but I want to give this a try before the end of the fall!

  • Angela

    This is delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m missing your “What I’m Loving” posts. I bought some Tiny Galaxy earrings at your recommendations and I love them with a fiery passion.

  • annieseats

    Not to worry, those aren’t going anywhere! I have a new one ready to share next week, and additionally I think I may expand some of my fashion-related postings soon!

  • Angela

    Yay! I love those so much. I’m excited to read it.

    I found this on mod cloth (also from a recommendation from you) http://www.modcloth.com/shop/ourdesigners/mata-traders There is a section of fair trade clothes and jewelry. I love it.

  • annieseats

    Sweet, thanks!

  • Mary

    This recipe for pumpkin sauce is super easy to make and delicious! I halved the pasta but otherwise made it as written. Thanks Annie for another great recipe!

  • Anne

    If you don’t want to fresh roast pumpkin and are looking for suggestions on substitutions, I have used a roast sweet potato as a substitution before in a similar recipe and it works great. I don’t have the skills in the kitchen that Annie does so roasting a sweet potato is far less intimidating to me than roasting pumpkin!

  • Cs

    What brand shells do you use?

  • Annie

    Do you mean pasta? I don’t think the brand matters but I use Whole Foods store brand most often.