This Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi Sauce is the perfect fall pasta sauce for the beloved little Italian dumplings we all know and love. Using pumpkin puree, fall spices like fresh sage leaves, and gnocchi, you’ll have an easy pumpkin gnocchi recipe that the whole family will love.
Does anyone else get in a pasta mood as soon as September hits? I always find myself craving a large bowl of pretty much any type of pasta with a creamy sauce spooned over the top. This pumpkin pasta is the best way to step into fall and will give your plain tomato sauce a run for its money. It works great with regular potato gnocchi, would be great with this Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe, and would even work well with some simple short pasta noodles.
Why This Recipe Works
Here’s why this pumpkin gnocchi sauce is a fall favorite.
- Easy. I used ready-made gnocchi for this savory pumpkin recipe to keep it easy (although you could totally make homemade gnocchi if you’re in the mood). The sauce comes together with little effort and is made with just a handful of ingredients, making this a quick meal for busy nights.
- Creamy. This creamy pumpkin sauce pairs great with the gnocchi and is the ultimate in comfort food.
- Make ahead. You can easily make this dish ahead of time, then just reheat it when you’re ready to serve. It stores very well in the refrigerator.
You’ll probably have most of the ingredients for this delicious pumpkin gnocchi in your pantry, but if not, they should all be easy to find at the grocery store.
- Pumpkin Puree. You’ll want to use canned pumpkin puree here and NOT pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has a lot of extra spices and sweeteners that you don’t want for a pasta sauce.
- Spices. I used fresh sage, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper to add some nice fall flavors to this easy pumpkin gnocchi recipe.
- Gnocchi. Gnocchi is easy enough to find at the grocery store, but you can make your own too. Traditional gnocchi dough is made of mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. Some recipes also add ricotta cheese to the mixture for a slightly different flavor and texture.
- Garlic and shallot (or onion). These add such great flavor to the sauce and counter the sweetness of the pumpkin.
- Heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. These make the pumpkin sauce ultra-creamy and the Parmesan also adds a nice sharpness to the dish.
- Reserved pasta water or broth. You’ll use this to help thin the sauce out a bit. Reserved pasta water contains some of the leftover starch from the pasta, helping to bind the ingredients together and make a silky smooth sauce. (But if you forget to save the past water until it’s too late, feel free to just use vegetable broth.)
How To Make This Easy Pumpkin Gnocchi Sauce With Sage
This gnocchi with pumpkin sage sauce is an easy dish to pull together on a weeknight and goes great with a tall glass of red wine. Here’s how to make it:
- Boil the gnocchi. Start by boiling your gnocchi pasta in a large pot of salted water. Follow the package instructions, but it should only take 5-6 minutes and you’ll know your gnocchi is ready when it floats to the top of the water. Remove the cooked gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon, and reserve 2 cups of the pasta water.
- Make the sauce. Meanwhile, in another pot, sautee the garlic and shallots in a little bit of butter and olive oil until fragrant. Add the pumpkin puree, and the heavy cream to the pan. Slowly, using about ½ cup at a time, add the reserved pasta water or broth, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Add the spices. Add the sage, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and simmer on the stove for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Add the gnocchi. Add the gnocchi to the sauce, then stir well to combine.
Substitutions and Variations:
Don’t have all the ingredients on hand, or want to change it up a bit? Check out these substitutions below:
- Sub out dried sage for fresh. I used fresh sage leaves here but you can just as easily use a pinch of dried sage for similar results.
- Make it vegan. Make this a vegan pumpkin gnocchi dish by substituting coconut milk for the half-and-half, and vegan cheese for the Parmesan (or just omit the cheese altogether).
- Change up the pasta. The potato pasta works well with this dish, but you can easily change this to a different type of pasta. Shorter pastas work well here, such as macaroni, fusilli, ziti or rigatoni.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can make your own pumpkin puree by roasting the insides of a baking pumpkin or a sugar pie pumpkin, then tossing the roasted pumpkin into a food processor or high-speed blender. Just make sure to not use a carving pumpkin as they have more of a bland, bitter flavor.
No. Canned pumpkin pie filling has added sweeteners and spices because, well, it’s for a pie. You don’t want all that extra sweetness for the sauce.
You’ll need to thin the sauce with reserved pasta water or veggie broth to thin it out a bit. Add the pasta water to the sauce slowly, about ½ cup at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Simmer the sauce on medium heat to create a perfectly silky smooth sauce.
Of course! Homemade gnocchi can be fun to make and isn’t all that difficult to make. Feel free to make your own if you’re up for it!
This pumpkin gnocchi sauce can be made vegan by omitting the heavy cream (try subbing coconut milk instead) and omitting the Parmesan cheese. It’s a great vegan dish with these alterations.
I love this pumpkin gnocchi sauce because it’s really easy to make ahead of time. If you want to make it ahead, or if you simply have leftover gnocchi, allow the dish to come to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes! The creamy pumpkin sauce freezes really well and if you have extra, it’s great to reserve for another pasta dish later on. Simply place the sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This pumpkin gnocchi pairs well with your typical pasta sides. It's a fairly heavy sauce so try it with a lighter dish, like a simple green salad, or some sauteed veggies.
If you make this Easy, Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi Sauce With Sage let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
More Easy Pasta Dishes
- Creamy Seafood Tetrazzini With Shrimp
- Lazy Baked Lasagna With Frozen Cheese Ravioli
- Chickpea Stew WIth Orzo And Greens
- Easy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe
- Tuscan Pasta
- Pumpkin Mac N Cheese
Easy, Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi Sauce With Sage
- 2 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 ½ cup reserved pasta water (or vegetable broth)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 2 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 lbs gnocchi store-bought or homemade
Cook The Gnocchi
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi pieces to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions or until they float to the surface, usually 2-3 minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place in a separate bowl. Reserve up to 2 cups of the pasta water, and set aside.
Prepare The Pumpkin Gnocchi Sauce
- In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts.
- Add the chopped onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Stir in the minced garlic and chopped sage leaves, cooking for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the canned pumpkin puree, heavy cream, and vegetable or chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Season the sauce with ground nutmeg, salt, and black pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Gently fold the cooked gnocchi into the pumpkin sauce, ensuring they are well coated. Allow the gnocchi to simmer in the sauce for another 2-3 minutes, so they soak up some of the flavor. If the sauce is thicker than you’d prefer, slowly add the reserved pasta sauce until the sauce is the desired consistency.
- Garnish with additional chopped fresh sage leaves and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Reserve the pasta water that you cooked the gnocchi in to add to the sauce. Add the water in ½ cup increments until it reaches your desired consistency. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.