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.

  • Yield 4-6 servings


  • 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.