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pumpkin pasta recipe

Pumpkin Vodka Penne

A pumpkin and tomato cream sauce pasta sauce is simmered with caramelized shallots, fresh herbs, Parmesan, and a splash of vodka and crispy bacon. Creamy, comforting, and so flavorful, this pumpkin vodka penne is an Autumnal twist on a classic dish. Bonus, this easy weeknight meal takes only 30 minutes to make!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 large shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 thick slices of applewood smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 32 oz. can whole San Marzano Tomatoes drained
  • 10 large basil leaves fresh
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves pulled from stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • 16 oz penne pasta cooked per box instructions
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Use non stick foil to line a large baking sheet. Then place bacon in a single layer.

    Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until the bacon is crispy.

    Then remove to paper towels to cool. Once it is cool, crumble it or chop into tiny bits. Set aside for later.

    Roughly chop the shallots and garlic.

    Gather the fresh herbs and pull the leaves from the stems. Set aside.

    Heat up olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Then add the shallots and saute for a few minutes, until caramelized. Then add the garlic. Cook for a minute longer, add the herbs and touch of crushed red pepper.

    Then add a hefty splash of vodka to deglaze the pan and scrape up all of the caramelized bits. Next, add the pumpkin puree.

    Meanwhile, drain out a can of whole, peeled, San Marzano Tomatoes before adding them to the pumpkin mixture. Cook this mixture for about ten fifteen minutes, using a large spoon to crush it up the tomatoes as they simmer.

    Next, use an immersion blender (or a blender) to turn the pumpkin mixture into pureed sauce.

    Add heavy cream, bacon, and Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat to low and simmer the sauce until the pasta is cooked.


    While the sauce simmers, get some water boiling for penne pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Once it is boiling, add the penne and cook al dente, according to the directions.

    Drain the pasta. Add it to the pasta sauce and toss it well to coat.

    To serve, sprinkle on more parmesan cheese and chopped herbs. To switch up your pasta, try making Homemade Pasta!

Recipe Notes

To make this without vodka, simply swap out the vodka for chicken broth.