Pumpkin in this alfredo sauce replaces heavy cream with milk and reduces butter in the recipe. Healthy and tasty with Parmesan, cayenne, nutmeg and kale.
Pumpkin and Alfredo Sauce? I know, here we go with yet another ‘It’s-fall-so-let’s-put-pumpkin-in-EVERYTHING! Well, anyway- canned pumpkin in your alfredo sauce recipe is a perfect pairing for a few reasons. Besides the super-pack of vitamins, the canned pumpkin in this recipe helps to thicken your sauce and adds a butter-creamy flavor that replaces the need for a ton of butter and you can actually eliminate the cream. I used milk instead of cream and only 3 tablespoons of butter. You could leave the butter out completely and use coconut or almond milk for a dairy-free option. Fresh kale, wilted, adds some nice color plus if you chop the kale nice and small, your kids just might eat it.
My recipe evolved quickly out of this lovely thing…
that fell into my shopping cart.
I bought it without even flipping through the pages, and though I may not want to cook 100 pumpkin recipes this season, I want to cook anything and everything that get’s me ready for fall because I’ve been waiting for it since the second 100-degree summer day back in July. Whether you love to cook with pumpkin; or you love fall; or dread it because it’s “good-bye summer”; this is a delicious, fast and easy recipe. The pumpkin is not over-powering at all. Green onions and garlic compliment each other very well, and the spice combination of pesto, cayenne and nutmeg really work with the Parmesan cheese
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Kale is a perfect weeknight meal; it’s 30 minutes, start to finish. Some grilled or baked chicken breasts sliced and placed on top make for a hearty dish with protein; and why not throw on some cherry tomatoes for more color? Plus the tomatoes taste fabulous here.
Whether you’ve already bought out the supply of canned pumpkin at the grocer or you just love alfredo pasta and are looking for a healthier way to serve it, this is a must-try recipe.
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Kale
- 3 cups dried whole grain or gluten-free rigatoni, macaroni or any pasta with ridges to hold the sauce
- 4 cups rough-chopped fresh kale, more or less to your liking
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons white wine, may sub broth, or white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup green onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or smashed and rough chopped
- 2 Tablespoons pesto, homemade or store-bought, or fresh chopped basil will also do
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, optional
- 2 cups milk, I use whole milk
- 1- 15 oz. can pumpkin
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- In a Dutch oven cook 3 cups pasta according to package directions, adding 4 cups chopped kale during the last 30 seconds; drain. Return to pan, cover and keep warm.
While the Pasta is Cooking Start Your Sauce:
- In a large skillet melt 3 Tablespoons butter over medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons white wine and cook just a couple minutes until bubbling. Add ¼ cup green onion, 4 minced garlic and 2 Tablespoons pesto. Continue to cook until the wine has reduced out a bit, about 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, ¼ teaspoon cayenne and ⅛ teaspoon fresh nutmeg.
- Stir in 2 cups milk, 15 ounces pumpkin and 1 cup Parmesan cheese. After the cheese has melted, taste the sauce and add more seasoning or Parmesan if desired. The sauce should be nice and thick and will continue to thicken after it's mixed with the pasta. If you want to thin your sauce, add a little more milk and an extra tablespoon of butter. Taste again.
- Add the sauce to about ¾ of the pasta, to coat. Add more of the pasta until your dish has the desired consistency.
- Sprinkle individual servings with additional Parmessan cheese and, if desired, addditional green onions.
Recipe loosely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication 100 Pumpkin Recipes.
trisha barnett says
I’m going to make this tonight! Looks dreamy. Might toast some pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them on top.
shelly poole says
I made this tonight and it was ridiculously good! I added sautéed mushrooms.
meg cardova says
This was awesome! A very quick, simple and delicious fall food!
sammy h says
If you were to add a protein to this, which would you suggest?
Sally Humeniuk says
Hi Sammy, I would actually add either beef or pork to this one. The sauce is hefty enough that it would be fantastic.
jenn b says
This looks SO delicious Sally! I totally need new ways to incorporate pumpkin into my diet this year. Thanks for sharing this wonderful looking recipe. cant wait try it!
Kevin | Keviniscooking says
Lovely idea and my thoughts are I’d need some garlic bread, a couch and a napkin.
Oh yes, Kevin! Since it’s 50 degrees and raining here today, I’ll share that couch with you and provide the garlic bread. I’ll bet you make a killer garlic bread. I have a recipe I only make once in awhile because it’s so decadent but it disappears in a minute! I mix together equal parts softened butter and mayo, then add chopped green onions, rough chopped garlic, and a lot of Parmesan cheese. Then spread that (thick) over a loaf of French bread sliced length-wise. Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne and bake until golden. Not healthy at all but so, so good. Some chopped olives in the mix is a great change up too.