Enjoy this fall-inspired pasta sauce, tinged with heat from a small helping of cayenne pepper.
Updated October 2023
I stumbled upon a pumpkin butternut squash pasta sauce from my local grocery store and mindlessly threw it in my cart. What’s something new? I thought. I didn’t think my entire family would enjoy it.
As I scraped together the last of the pasta sauce out of the jar, I knew I needed to recreate it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – another pumpkin dish? But hear me out.
My fall 2022 garden grew more pumpkins than I knew what to do with! I knew I wanted more than just pie, but I didn’t realize a store-bought pasta sauce would be such a hit with my family. Thus, I turned to the pumpkins I had just picked and knew I needed to get to work giving my family something homegrown.
The recipe took some tweaking at first. But after a few dashes of this or that spice and another spoon or two of taste testing, I knew I had a recipe I was confident in feeding to my family.
Even better? I already stock all of these ingredients in my home anyway! No more frantically wondering what I’m going to cook for dinner on a hectic night. So long as I have a butternut squash in my produce bin, I’m ready for anything!
Things to Note
My family enjoys this best served with sausage for that extra dose of spice. And when shopping around for store-bought pumpkin, be sure to buy pumpkin puree – NOT pumpkin pie filling.
My recipe also includes heavy cream, but if you’re looking for a creamy butternut squash pasta sauce, simply add more cream and even some parmesan cheese! Freshly grated parmesan cheese will melt and make your pasta sauce silky and creamy.
Recipe in Review
If you’re looking to create your own fresh pumpkin puree, cut your pumpkin in half and set the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees for about an hour or an hour and a half, until the pumpkin is fork tender.
When you can easily scrap the pumpkin away from the flesh, put the flesh in a standard blender with some water and puree. Add more water to reach a thinner consistency.
In the same manner, peel and roast your butternut squash. If you don’t want to roast your butternut squash, cut it into cubes. Take your cubed butternut squash and either roast it on a baking sheet or boil it until fork tender.
Put the butternut squash into a standard blender, add water, and blend.
When your pumpkin and butternut squash have been cooked and pureed, add all of your ingredients to a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring often. Let your pasta sauce boil for about 5 minutes and serve immediately over your pasta of choice.
If your pasta sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta sauce from cooking your pasta, more heavy cream, or water to reach your desired consistency.
If you are trying to stay away from cooked pasta, consider substituting pasta for spaghetti squash! If you aren’t staying away from pasta, but still looking for ways to enrich your diet, consider using whole-wheat pasta.
And if you are dairy-free, consider using something like almond milk as a dairy substitute in this recipe. Almond milk is also a great first step in making this dish a vegan butternut squash pasta sauce.
While I have not tried it, I wonder if coconut milk wouldn’t add incredible creaminess and sweetness to this dish. Something to perfectly balance the heat from the cayenne pepper!
Other variations include roasting a red onion and blending it into your pasta dish, or topping with crispy, fried sage leaves. Instead of using fresh butternut squash, you could also use frozen varieties. Just be sure to boil or roast so your squash is totally cooked before blending.
Please note that any substitutions or alterations to this recipe have not been tested and I can’t guarantee the outcome of your dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a tomato-based sauce?
A tomato-based sauce is one that relies on tomatoes as the bulk, majority ingredient. This pumpkin butternut squash pasta sauce is not considered a tomato-based sauce.
Are fresh herbs better than dried herbs?
Some herbs are better fresh than they are dried, simply because they lose their flavor when they are dried. Think of delicate herbs, like parsley or dill. If you’re able use them fresh. I tend to use dried herbs, simply for convenience’s sake.
It’s that time of year!
This is a great recipe because it uses simple ingredients and comes together in less than 30 minutes. I love that I’m able to highlight fall flavors, but still give my family something they will love.
Let me know if you try this pasta sauce! I think that pumpkin is simply the perfect fall comfort food.
If you’re looking for other great pumpkin recipes, try out my mason jar pumpkin spice coffee creamer!
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- 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 cups butternut squash puree (1 medium butternut squash, peeled and boiled)
- 2 TBSP tomato puree
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP parsley flakes
- 1 TBSP butter
Wash and peel your butternut squash. Dice into 1 inch cubes and boil until tender, or a fork is easily removed from squash. About 25 minutes.
Mash or blend butternut squash to create butternut squash puree.
In a pan, combine butternut squash puree, pumpkin puree, tomato puree, heavy cream, butter and spices. Bring to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, until thoroughly heated through.
Add additional cayenne pepper for more spice!
Our family enjoys eating this fall-inspired sauce with sausage for that extra dose of spice.