Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta Bake: Recipe You Must Try

Sometimes, the best recipes come from a flash of inspiration when you start thinking about what’s in the fridge – a bit of leftover sausage, a can of pumpkin, some pasta. With a few simple additions, those random ingredients can become an incredible dinner idea!

Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta Bake

I love a recipe that’s easy to whip up on a busy night. You can make this creamy and delicious pasta bake in way less time than it takes to order takeout. It feels like something special, though! Serve it up with a fresh salad and some crusty bread, and you’ve got the perfect cozy meal.


Savory Satisfaction

This creamy pumpkin and sausage pasta bake brings fall flavors together in a  hearty and satisfying dish.  You get all the warm, savory goodness of pumpkin, the richness of crumbled sausage, and a tasty sauce made with onions, garlic, half-and-half, and chicken broth. The hint of sage adds an earthy note, and a blend of Italian Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses give it a bubbly, melted topping.

Pumpkin Season: Star of the Show

Fall is pumpkin season, a time when this versatile ingredient truly gets to shine. While we might think of sweet treats, pumpkin is surprisingly delicious in savory dishes, too.  In this pasta bake, the pumpkin adds sweetness and body to the sauce, complementing the spice of the sausage perfectly.

A little bit of heavy cream and a splash of white wine lend richness and balance to the sauce. Don’t knock this incredible combination until you’ve tried it – the flavors meld together in a way that’s absolutely divine. Trust me, this isn’t your standard Italian pasta dish!

What’s So Great About Pumpkin?

Don’t let those bright orange looks fool you – pumpkin is more than just a pretty face! This festive winter squash is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, making it a nutrient-dense and surprisingly low-calorie food.

We all love pumpkin around the holidays, but this versatile veggie deserves a place on our tables year-round. Whether roasted, steamed, or pureed, pumpkin adds a delightful sweetness and a beautiful color to both sweet and savory dishes.

What Wine Is Best For Cooking?

While not a must for this dish, a bit of white wine adds a lovely flavor note. Opt for a drier white that complements the rich, savory flavors. Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are both good choices.  Remember, it’s okay to use an inexpensive bottle – avoid anything too sweet! What you drink and what you cook with don’t have to be the same.

Don’t Want to Cook with Wine?

No problem! Here’s a simple kitchen substitute:

  • For each ½ cup of wine, use ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth along with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice to balance the acidity.

Note for Pregnant Women

It’s important to note that this recipe, as traditionally prepared, includes wine. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy, even in small amounts, increases the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). While some of the alcohol evaporates during cooking, it’s important to remember that there’s no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or cooking for someone who is, there are some delicious alcohol-free alternatives! You can easily swap the wine for a splash of low-sodium chicken broth, a bit of grape juice, or even a squeeze of lemon juice to achieve a similar flavor profile.

So… Pumpkin Sausage Pasta?

If you’re used to pumpkin pie, the idea of pumpkin in a savory dish might seem a bit strange. Trust me, I was the same way a long time ago! I’m a total foodie, and my world opened up after starting my food blog. I learned to love experimenting with different foods and flavor combinations and eventually realized pumpkin’s savory potential.

This pumpkin sausage pasta recipe is one of those happy accidents; the result of throwing things together based on what was on hand. This recipe quickly became a family favorite! It’s so delicious, and honestly a must-try if you like pasta and fall flavors.

Looking To Use Fresh Pumpkin?

If you’re feeling ambitious, using fresh pumpkin adds incredible flavor and texture to this dish! Here’s how to handle it:

  1. Prep the Pumpkin: Choose a smaller pie pumpkin. Halve it, scoop out the seeds, and set aside for roasting (delicious snack!).
  2. Cook Your Choice:
    • Boiling: Place the pumpkin halves in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until fork-tender.
    • Slicing: Cut the pumpkin into smaller chunks and boil briefly, just until tender.
  3. Drain & Cool: Once cooked, drain the pumpkin well and let it cool enough to handle.
  4. Peel & Mash: Carefully peel the softened skin away and mash the pumpkin until smooth.

Now, use your fresh pumpkin puree in place of the canned version and enjoy the extra depth of flavor!

Nutritional Information

Nutrition FactsValue (per serving)

Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: PastaCuisine: Italian-American cuisine


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time



Here is the detail of Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta Bake recipe.


  • Cooking spray

  • Rigatoni or ziti pasta

  • Sweet Italian sausage

  • Onion & Garlic

  • Canned pumpkin

  • Roasted chicken base

  • Water

  • Dried ground sage

  • Half and half

  • Parmesan & mozzarella cheese

  • Salt & pepper

  • Fresh parsley (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Let’s get things cooking!
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • While the pasta’s boiling, brown the sausage in a big skillet. Once cooked, drain it on some paper towels to get rid of extra grease.
  • In the same pan, sauté your chopped onions until softened. Add in the minced garlic and cook for just a minute until fragrant.
  • Into that pan, add the pumpkin, broth, and sage. Allow the sauce to bubble gently for a few minutes.
  • Stir in the half & half for extra creaminess.
  • Combine the drained pasta with the sauce in a big bowl.
  • Transfer everything to a greased baking dish.
  • Top with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake until bubbly and the cheese is beautifully melted.
  • Reminder: A little rest time after baking helps the flavors come together even more!


  • Pumpkin Power: Use either canned pumpkin puree for convenience or roast a fresh pumpkin for incredible flavor and texture.
  • Sausage Suggestions: Experiment with different types of sausage!  Sweet Italian, spicy chorizo, or even breakfast sausage will all be delicious in this dish.
  • Spice Options: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning for classic flavor, or try a touch of fennel seeds for a subtle sweetness.
  • Storing & Reheating: For the best texture, let the pasta bake cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. Choose your preferred reheating method: oven, stovetop, or microwave.
  • Serving Suggestions: Pair this hearty pasta bake with a simple salad, roasted vegetables, or crusty bread for a complete meal.

Tips & Tidbits

  • Sausage Selection: Use bulk Italian sausage for easy crumbling. If you get links, simply slice off the casings before cooking the meat. Want extra heat? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or try a spicy sausage!
  • Pasta Possibilities: While rigatoni or ziti work perfectly, this sauce complements so many shapes! Penne, fusilli, rotini, farfalle, orecchiette, or gemelli are all great choices.
  • Don’t Overcook! Cook the pasta just until al dente – it’ll soften further in the oven. No mushy pasta here!
  • Salt Sparingly (At first): Seasoning the pasta water adds flavor, but remember the sausage, broth, and cheeses are salty too. Adjust to taste before baking to avoid a bland final dish.
  • Broth Matters: 2 cups is more than enough – ounces vs. quarts matter! Kosher salt adds a richer flavor. For extra depth, use a roasted chicken base instead of plain broth.
  • Pumpkin Power: Use pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Make sure to buy cans in similar sizes to avoid measuring confusion.
  • Leftover Love: This dish absorbs a bit more liquid when it sits, so leftovers might seem slightly dry when reheating. Adding a splash of water or broth before warming, then covering with foil, will keep it perfectly moist.

RELATED: Creamy Lemon Spring Pasta Salad

RELATED: Pesto Mac and Cheese

Other Sausages to Use

Sweet Italian sausage is classic, but it’s not the only option! Here are a few other ideas:

  • Spicy Sausages: If you love a little heat, try chorizo or andouille sausage. Just keep in mind they’ll pack a flavor punch, so adjust your spices accordingly.
  • Precooked Options: Using precooked sausage (like smoked sausage or kielbasa) saves time. Just slice it up and add it to the pan when you’re sautéing the onions. This kind often comes in a casing – if you want it crumbled instead, just give it a squeeze out of the casing during cooking.
  • Flavor Exploration: Bulk breakfast sausage, flavored chicken sausage… get creative! The possibilities are endless as the sausage will soak up the other flavors of the sauce.

What Can I Pair My Pasta With?

Pasta bake is hearty, but it’s nice to round out the meal with a few accompaniments. Think about balancing textures, flavors, and nutrients for an entire dining experience. Here are some ideas:

  • Veggies: A simple salad or roasted vegetables add freshness and vitamins.
  • Protein: Grilled chicken or shrimp complement the dish without being too heavy.
  • Starch: Crusty bread is perfect for soaking up extra sauce.

Remember, this is your kitchen! Feel free to experiment – that’s what makes cooking fun.

Storing Leftovers

This pasta dish is fantastic for meal prep, as leftovers keep well! Here’s how to handle them:

  • Cool Completely: Before storing, let the pasta bake cool to room temperature. This prevents excess moisture that can make things soggy.
  • Portion Control: For easy reheating, consider storing leftovers in individual portions. If you’ve made a big casserole, it’s okay to store the whole thing, but it’ll reheat more evenly in smaller containers.
  • Keep it Fresh: Store your pasta bake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing for Later: This pasta dish even freezes beautifully! For the best texture, it’s wise to freeze the sauce and pasta separately. Choose airtight containers or freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months of storage.
  • Thawing: Let frozen pasta thaw fully in the fridge overnight before reheating for the best results.

Tips for Storing Leftovers

Cool it down: Before storing any leftovers, be sure to let the pasta bake cool down to room temperature. This will help prevent condensation within the container, which can lead to a soggy dish.

  • Choose the right container: Use airtight containers made of glass or food-safe plastic. These will keep the flavors fresh and prevent the pasta bake from drying out.
  • Label clearly: Don’t forget to label the container with the contents and the date it was prepared. This will help you stay on top of your leftovers and prevent anything from going to waste.
  • Freezing tips: If you’re freezing the pasta bake, consider freezing the sauce and pasta separately. This can help preserve the texture of both components upon reheating.


This creamy pumpkin and sausage pasta bake is the perfect dish to cozy up with on a chilly fall night. The warm flavors of pumpkin, sausage, and sage create a satisfying and comforting meal that’s surprisingly easy to make. Whether you’re using fresh or canned pumpkin, experimenting with different types of sausage, or simply adding your own favorite spices, this recipe is endlessly adaptable. It’s sure to become a new fall favorite for weeknight dinners and special gatherings alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to cook pasta before baking?

You want to slightly undercook the pasta. It’s best to follow the package directions, but reduce the boiling time by 2-3 minutes. Remember, the pasta will continue to cook in the hot oven, so you don’t want it to end up mushy.

How do you thicken pasta bake?

If your sauce seems too thin, a simple slurry can help.  Whisk together 1-2 tablespoons of flour with ¼ cup of the liquid from the dish. Add this mixture to the simmering sauce, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until thickened. Be careful not to add too much raw flour, or it might alter the taste. For the best results, add the slurry gradually until you reach your desired consistency.

Why is my pasta bake dry?

There are a few reasons this could happen:

  • Not enough sauce: Make sure you’re using the recommended amounts in your recipe.
  • Overcooking: If you baked the dish too long, the pasta can soak up excess sauce.
  • Large batches: If you doubled or tripled the recipe, consider increasing the sauce ratio. This will prevent it from drying out during a longer baking time.

How do you reheat pasta bake?

There are a few ways to reheat this delicious dish:

* Oven: This is the best option for a large portion.  Preheat your oven to 350℉, cover your pasta dish with foil, and bake for 15–20 minutes.  This method offers the benefit of getting your dish a little crispy and bubbly.

* Microwave: Great for individual servings. Use medium power and heat in short intervals.

* Stovetop: Add a splash of water or broth to rehydrate the sauce.

Can you freeze pasta bake?

Yes! Pasta bake is a great freezer meal. For best results, consider freezing the sauce and pasta separately. You can assemble the bake and freeze it uncooked, or fully cook it and freeze for easy weeknight dinners.

How do you cook frozen pasta bake?

You can put baked pasta dishes in the oven directly from the freezer. Remove any plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F until hot in the center, about 1 hour. Remove the foil and continue baking for about 15 minutes until bubbly.

Can you just heat up pasta bake sauce?

While you can, it’s not recommended.  Storing and reheating the pasta and sauce separately usually yields better results. If you do have leftover sauce, reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave for the best texture.

How long does pasta bake last in the fridge?

Once cooked and cooled slightly, pasta bake can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  You can store the pasta and sauce separately and quickly reheat them – just toss the pasta into boiling water for a few seconds, then drain well before combining.

How do you rehydrate pasta bake?

Here are the most effective methods:

  • Boiling Water: Submerge the pasta bake in boiling water for a few minutes.
  • Oven: Cover the dish with foil and add a splash of water or broth. Bake at 350°F until heated through.
  • Stovetop: Add a bit of water/broth to the pan and reheat gently over low heat.
  • Microwave: Cover loosely and add a tablespoon of water. Reheat using short intervals and stir between.

How do you moisten pasta bake?

The best way is to add a small amount of extra sauce or a splash of water/broth when reheating your cooked pasta bake. This will help prevent it from drying out, especially if using the oven or microwave.

Does pasta bake keep?

Yes, pasta bake makes a fantastic leftover dish. It’s a great option for meal prepping, something like a chicken stir-fry dinner.  As a general rule, it’s safe to eat leftovers within two to three days after cooking.

Can you use pasta sauce for pasta bake?

Absolutely!  A jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce is a great starting point.  It can save you time, and you can always customize it by adding things like Italian sausage, chopped vegetables (onion, garlic, mushrooms), diced tomatoes, sliced pepperoni, Italian seasoning, or ground beef.

Can I use different types of pasta in this recipe?

Yes! While rigatoni and ziti are classic for pasta bakes, this recipe is very forgiving. You can use penne, rotini, farfalle, or any other sturdy shape that will hold up well to the sauce. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time based on the pasta you choose.

Are there vegetarian/vegan adaptations for this dish?

Definitely! Here are some ideas:

  • Protein: Swap the sausage for crumbled tempeh, seasoned tofu, plant-based “meat,” or lentils.
  • Cheese: Use your favorite vegan cheese alternatives. Nutritional yeast also adds a cheesy flavor.
  • Dairy: Substitute the half-and-half with unsweetened plant-based milk or a creamy vegan sauce.

What spices can I add for extra flavor?

This recipe uses sage for a warm, earthy note, but here are other options to try:

  • Italian Seasoning: Add a teaspoon or two for a classic blend.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: A pinch will provide a touch of heat.
  • Fennel Seeds: Adds a subtle sweetness and licorice-like flavor.
  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped basil or parsley brighten up the dish at the very end.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button