Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Occasionally I admit that I live in a Disney fantasyland where candlesticks come to life and orchestrate the cleaning of my kitchen and Prince Charming actually texts me back.

In reality, dishes are piling up in the sink and my phone is all too quiet. On the bright side, even though this pumpkin didn’t magically transform into a carriage, it did turn into the tastiest alfredo of my life. Alfredo sounds like he could be a charming character, doesn’t he?

pie pumpkin

Technically, this is an abstract alfredo since it’s not loaded with butter and Parmesan like traditional alfredo sauce. Instead, it’s made creamy with pumpkin purée and seasoned with rosemary, red pepper and tangy goat cheese. It’s precisely what I’ve been craving in this chilly weather, especially after what’s-his-name didn’t holler back. Alfredo it is.

rosemary and pumpkin fettuccini

Last weekend, a guy teased me for using canned pumpkin purée instead of homemade in my pumpkin bread, so I went to the trouble of making my own for this recipe. Was it worth it? I’m not entirely convinced it was. The homemade purée not only took so long that I ran out of daylight to take photos of the finished pasta (grumble), but also has a higher moisture content than the organic canned stuff. Therefore, I’m not sure I would trust it for baking.

In terms of flavor, pumpkin purée really doesn’t have much of it—whether canned or homemade, it’s not that great until you spice it up and add a dash of salt. Conclusion? Make your own if you’re so inclined but feel free to crank open a can instead. I won’t judge.

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo with Rosemary and Parmesan

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo
4.9 from 11 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
Fettuccine tossed with a creamy and comforting, alfredo-like pumpkin sauce, rosemary, Parmesan and spices. You can make your own pumpkin purée (see notes for instructions) or, for a quick meal, use canned pumpkin purée. It's great both ways!
  • ½ pound (8 ounces) whole wheat fettuccine (linguine would also work)
  • 1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, plus more for sprinkling on top (a 3-inch sprig of rosemary should do it)
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 3 ounces goat cheese cheese, cut into big chunks
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree*
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • shaved Parmesan cheese for topping
  1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (consult directions on package). Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a 10 to 12-inch saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and stir to create a roux, until bubbly and golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in milk, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly and increase the heat a little bit, if necessary, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add in goat cheese, pumpkin, cinnamon, salt and pepper, whisking until smooth and thickened into a sauce. Season with additional salt (don't be shy) and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to pan and toss to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately; top each serving with a sprinkle of finely chopped rosemary (necessary), red pepper flakes (optional, if you like spice like me) and Parmesan shavings.
  • Adapted from How Sweet It Is.
  • Serves two generously or three to four with sides.
  • Whole wheat noodles work particularly well here because they retain more of a bite and lend texture to a dish that might otherwise end up mushy. I used Mara's Pasta fettuccine, which I like, but any brand will do.
  • If you don't like goat cheese, let me first say that I don't understand you even though I used to be one of you... but I still love you. Try substituting mascarpone cheese or cream cheese or any melty cheese (fontina would be good) for the goat cheese.
  • Gently reheat leftovers with a splash of milk.
  • *To make your own pumpkin purée: preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut off the top-most part of the pumpkin where it meets the stem. Slice the pumpkin into two, from the top through the bottom. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds, reserving them for roasted pumpkin seeds if you'd like. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the flesh of the pumpkin halves with a light coating of olive oil and place facedown on the baking sheet. Roast until the skin is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 to 55 minutes. Turn the halves over and let them rest until cool enough to handle. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh into a food processor or high-powered blender (I found that I could just pull the skin off). Blend well. Measure out one cup for this recipe. Once the rest has cooled down, store it in the fridge, covered, for a few days or in an air-tight bag in the freezer for up to a few months.


  1. Jenna says

    Love that you were so blunt about the homemade pumpkin puree. Some people think that is the only way to go because it is truly from scratch. Some things are just not worth the hassle though.

  2. hayley says

    Looks delicious!
    Most experts agree that since canned pumpkin is almost as good or equally as good as making it yourself, but SO much easier, the fresh stuff isn’t worth it, especially for baking as you said. (I once made pumpkin cheesecake with it – took me forever!)

  3. says

    Oh, this sounds so good! Right up my alley. Thanks for sharing this recipe! :-)

    And yes, thanks for saying that canned pumpkin is ok to use. It just makes things so much easier and I don’t think there’s much of a taste difference to bother with the hassle of making it from scratch.

  4. says

    Sometimes festering over a homemade pumpkin puree is so not worth it, unless you have an exceptional variety of pumpkin available, which seems to be rare in my area.

    Wait, isn’t that a metaphor for dating?! I could defend canned varieties, but the comparison might go off the rails I think…

    Anyway!, I love that you made an inherently orange-y-beige food look so tasty without an arbitrary sprinkle of something green too (I’m so guilty of this).

    • says

      Ha! Thanks, Laura. I knew someone would appreciate the metaphor… shoulda known it would be you. Thanks for the photo compliment, too. Photographing this dish was a challenge.

  5. says

    I’m 100% sure of two things, my dear:

    1) any dude who doesn’t call YOU back is a wacko.
    2) I need to come over for dinner soon – this pasta is to die for!

  6. Sue in RI says

    Your photos always make my mouth water, and your recipes are responsible for converting my husband to at least the occasional meatless meal, so thanks big-time! I agree with Ashley about nos. 1 AND 2! As for pumpkin puree, I made it from scratch (and saved and toasted the seeds) just once many years ago and quickly relegated that idea to the not-worth-it pile. But, having said that, I wonder how this recipe might be with another winter squash puree, like Butternut or Acorn? Perhaps a little sweeter, but it works so well in ravioli, why not here? In that case, I might sub sage for the rosemary. Hmmmm…

    • WonderBunny says

      Sue in RI, I was wondering about the same thing with another winter squash. I have a nice sweet buttercup squash that is already cooked and just needs pureed in my fridge so I might give that a go.

      • gracie says

        I made a similar pasta dish with creamy butternut squash and it was overly sweet to my taste. But I roasted the butternut squash first so it was extra sweet I suppose.

      • says

        I say, go for it! The butternut will be sweeter than the pumpkin so you might add a little extra spice or salt so it doesn’t overwhelm.

    • says

      Hey Sue, I think butternut and sage would be great substitutions! The end result will be sweeter, so you might want to go a little heavier on the spices and salt to cut that. I am not the biggest fan of acorn (too earthy) but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out!

    • says

      Pumpkin and sour cream pudding sounds amazing! I may not have picked the best variety of pumpkin for puréeing, so I think I’ll try again.

      • says

        Good luck…love your upcoming post on the Chile Trail by the way, thanks for helping us out! ; ) and thanks too for this blog. I really love it. So fresh and appealing. I wanna try it all!

  7. says

    Cheers for the recipe. I realised last minute I didn’t have fettuccine, so stir fried some vegetables and tossed them through the sauce instead – and it was wonderful!! Love the rosemary with the pumpkin. You’re totally right about not being shy with salt and pepper. Great photos too, as usual :)

    • says

      Daylight savings is the worst! Ug! I’m fortunate that I work from home, so I try to take advantage of the late afternoon light for photo shoots. Proper timing can be so frustrating. I’m not sure I will ever invest in external lights because I really prefer natural lighting, but it sure is frustrating when the sun goes down early.

  8. Jackeline says

    Made this for dinner yesterday night and it was absolutely scrumptious! In fact, my mom loved it so much, she wants me to make it for Thanksgiving!

    • says

      That’s terrific, Jackeline! Thanks for your feedback. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it. I’d be happy to eat this on Thanksgiving, that’s for sure!

  9. says

    Very good to know about the homemade pumpkin puree. I got a sugar pumpkin (I think that’s what they called it) from our CSA last week, and this looks like that I need to make with it, especially since I need to roast it.

    This looks like the perfect chilly weather snack! Thanks for sharing, Kate!

  10. Ms. Morgan Leigh says

    Cooks Illustrated did Pumpkin Bread a month or so ago and addressed the canned versus fresh pumpkin quandary. They determined that the canned pumpkin tends to have a metallic tang to it that they found unsavory. However they also debated whether the roasting of the pumpkin in the oven is what makes the fresh so much better than the can. To test they cooked the canned pumpkin before they added it to their pumpkin bread. The result was that it vastly improved the canned taste making the difference between fresh and can pumpkin negligible. I didn’t follow their recipe last time I made pumpkin bread but I did cook the pumpkin and the bread (your recipe, I believe) turned out fantastic. In the past I always roasted pumpkin myself but I doubt I’ll mess with it now that I’ve learned this trick.

      • Ms. Morgan Leigh says

        I mixed the pumpkin, spices, and salt and then cooked it in a saucepan over medium heat. It reduces the pumpkin a bit so I just cooked more pumpkin than the recipe called for and measured it post cooking.

  11. says

    Oh man, Alfredo can waltz me around anytime. Seriously, love the goat cheese and pumpkin idea, smarter and healthier, of course. I’m all for creating your own roasted pumpkin and squash but I see what you mean for baking, besides I need something to be easy.

  12. says

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for years and I’ve never commented before. Love your recipes! Great inspiration. I’ve tried many of them! I have no problem with you using canned pumpkin but I just wanted to let you know the reason you had such a high moisture content from the one you used is because that was not a cooking pumpkin. I have not really seen cooking pumpkins for sale in grocery stores. I grow my own and they don’t compare. You would never use one for carving because the flesh is very thick and when you cook it, it is much more dense and firm. Probably what they use for canned pumpkin…. ;-) You might have better luck with a similar winter squash like a Queensland Blue or a Butternut squash.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Andrea! I’m glad to know you’re out there. I bought that pumpkin at a health store that carries local produce and checked with the girl at the counter to make sure it was a pie pumpkin like the sign said… apparently she was wrong! I’ll keep an eye out for a Queensland Blue at the farmers’ market. :)

  13. says

    This sounds absolutely out-of-this-world amazing. I love most things pumpkin and especially adore it when it’s paired with some carby goodness. What a creative twist! What’s-his-name isn’t worth worrying about ;) He’s clearly missing out!

  14. says

    This sounds amazing!! I made my own pumpkin purée last year and definitely agree with you. The extra moisture can be disastrous in some recipes and oh man is the daylight precious these days. Can’t wait to try this!

    • says

      Sorry Allie, I don’t know that anyone has. If you try it, please let us know! I think it would work. You could also substitute olive oil for the butter if you want an healthier, vegan alternative.

  15. says

    Wow…I just made a tart with almost the same flavor profile! Pumpkin and goat cheese custard with candied rosemary hazelnuts. It was good combination for dessert as I imagine it would be for pasta, as well. And I agree with you about the pumpkin- fresh is more trouble than it’s worth.

  16. says

    In my experience, the trick with homemade pumpkin puree is to strain the pumpkin juice out after you puree the flesh (let it drain for a few hours in a jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander). Makes the resulting puree as dense as the commercial variety, yet with a fresher flavor and brighter orange color. And you get bonus pumpkin juice, with is great for thickening up risotto or adding flavor to soup or stew.

  17. says

    Mmm, this sounds crazy good. I love pumpkin and goat cheese. {and I agree with you about the whole pumpkin debate}
    Also, thanks for making me laugh. ;) Alfredo it is.

  18. Petra says

    Just made this for dinner tonight. Perfect for this time of year. I love pasta & I love pumpkin so I had to try it. This was both delicious and easy!! I will be making this again. Thank you for a great, easy Fall recipe!

  19. says

    I made this for dinner the other night since my friend and i were both craving comfort food. it was amazing. we both loved it. absolutely perfect and warming for the chilly nights.

  20. says

    This sounds friggin’ DELICIOUS! On the to-make list…

    P.S. I don’t know why it took me so long to come visit… but I’m so glad I did – I love your site!! I want to eat it all!!!

  21. nicolette says

    This is making my mouth water- yumminess! My husband despises goat cheese- do you have any suggestions for substitutions because I must make this. Thank you!

  22. Lil says

    Love this recipe. Substituted pumpkin for butternut purée, delicious! I love this website and all the great vegetarian recipes.

  23. Kai says

    I made this the other day and it was SO GOOD. I subbed thinly sliced steamed cabbage for the noodles ’cause MAN did I eat a lot of carbs the day before, and it was delicious. (I know that probably doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it really *was* good.) Thanks, Kate! I am stoked to make this a gazillion more times with different kinds of cheeses and put it on lots and lots of different things. I also think using buttermilk in place of the normal milk would work too, and would amp up the tang of the goat cheese.

    • says

      Happy to hear it, Kai. I never would have thought to substitute cabbage for the noodles, I might just have to try that as I still feel a little over-stuffed from Thanksgiving.

  24. Kate says

    I can’t get ahold of canned pumpkin puree, unless I make a trip to the expat store and pay ridiculous prices. So it’s roast it myself or live without pumpkin puree. I roast the pumpkins without adding ANY extra liquid, as I agree with one of the previous posters that homemeade pumpkin puree tends to get watery…yuck. So no roasting in water. And no olive oil. And I roast them flesh-side down, so all the extra liquid drains out. Scoop out the flesh…usually it doesn’t even need to go through the food processor. I tend to do 2-3 pumpkins at once, then measure and freeze the puree in plastic bags for easy use later.

    Jeez, sorry for the quasi-pointless lecture there. Don’t think I can even really tell the difference between canned and pureed pumpkin taste-wise, truth be told.

    I’m totes going to try this recipe.

  25. Joanna says

    I used heavy cream instead of milk. Delicious! It ended up being quite thick but that could be because I let it go a bit long (my pasta and sauce looks like mac and cheese). Overall, a delicious recipe!!

    • says

      I think I used 1% milk in this recipe, so that could also explain why yours ended up thicker than mine. I love the creamy texture that the pumpkin lends, though.

  26. Megan says

    This was easy and fun to make. I made it with a mild goat cheese, but I like think next time I would try a mixture of cheeses (and maybe add some shallots?).

  27. Janet says

    Kate, I’ve been wanting to try this recipe since you first posted it several months ago. I finally did! It was incredible. I’m counting down the hours until I can eat the leftovers for lunch. Thanks for this, I will definitely make it again.

  28. Marla says

    I made this last week. I used vegan cream cheese (homemade based on ginger lemon girl blog recipe) for the goat cheese, nutritional yeast (for the parmesan), and a super small sprinkling of daiya vegan cheese I had in the freezer. It was one of the best vegan meals I’ve had. The rosemary added so much (and reminded me of sausage–which I used to like in fettucine alfredo), so glad I didn’t skip it (since you said it was “necessary” to sprinkle on top). Awesome recipe.

  29. Claire says

    Could I substitute Almond Milk for the 2 cups of Low-Fat Milk? And would I use 2 cups of Almond Milk? I am so excited to make this recipe tonight! Perfect for Fall! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Hey Claire, I haven’t tried using almond milk instead of low-fat milk, but I think it would work just fine as a 1:1 substitution. Please let me know if you try it!

  30. Claire says

    Hi Kate,

    I used the almond milk as a 1:1 substitution and I think the sauce was a bit watery/liquidy. But, I think it may have been because I didn’t do the roux right. I will have to try it again with the almond milk and make sure I get the roux right and then let you know:) For some reason, I have always had trouble knowing when the roux is ready. Thanks for all your awesome recipes!

    • says

      Thanks for reporting back, Claire! I’m not a roux expert myself. I think that almond milk has fewer calories/fat than regular reduced fat milk, so maybe that’s why it was watery? Maybe scale back on the amount of almond milk next time? Sorry, I’m just guessing out loud here!

  31. Mary says

    My husband and I love this recipe so much – I probably make it about three times a month! So easy, healthy, and delicious. :o)

    • says

      I’m so glad you both love the recipe, Mary! I have been meaning to try substituting sweet potato or butternut puree for the pumpkin… I bet it would be great either way!

  32. Kat says

    Hi Kate! I just wanted to tell you that I made this recipe last night and it was really, really something special. My (understanding but occasionally frustrated) husband initially balked at the idea of a pumpkin sauce, but when I reminded him that he’s perfectly fine with pumpkin ravioli he was a little more ready to give it a try… turned out he loved it as much as I did. This will be a staple in our kitchen going forward. It’s nice to have a lavishly creamy pasta dish in our repertoire that doesn’t make us want to go into a coma afterward!

    We made a couple of tiny substitutions – lactose-free milk and macaroni instead of the fettuccine, and it worked perfectly (and looked quite similar to mac and cheese.) I think next time I’ll try it with thyme in place of the cinnamon!

    I also recommend a can of Farmers Market brand organic pumpkin for the pumpkin itself – it was my first time using this brand and it had absolutely none of the undesirable raw metallic taste that certain other popular pumpkin companies have. After a lackluster pumpkin pie years ago, I have no desire whatsoever to puree my own pumpkin ever again! Too much work, very little payoff.

    • says

      Kat, thank you! I’m delighted to hear that you both enjoyed the pumpkin pasta so much. Now I want to try it with macaroni… you may have inspired a spin-off recipe. :) Thank you for commenting! I’ll keep an eye out for Farmers Market brand pumpkin, too.

  33. Melody says

    Just made this for lunch. It was absolutely delicious!!! I did modify it some. Didn’t have enough goat cheese, so I used parmesan and loaded it up with a bit of broccoli and peas (just my preference for alfredo). Tasted absolutely out of this world. I love incorporating pumpkin into recipes. Great way to sneak veggies into people’s stomachs. :)

  34. Mia says

    This was AMAZING. Kate, you never let me down. I had to make a gluten-free version for my friend with Celiac, so I simply added cornstarch to the milk mixture while it was cooking to help thicken (instead of flour), and of course used gluten-free noodles. Had to use dried rosemary in a pinch, because I didn’t have any fresh rosemary on hand.

    The sauce was spectacular. Creamy, pumpkin-y, delicious, and the goat cheese was the perfect addition. Seriously, if you haven’t already, drop everything and make this recipe.

  35. Kyle says

    We just tried this recipe last week, and it was fantastic! We made some peas as a side dish, and it seemed to compliment the pasta very well. I ended up mixing the peas in at some point. Either way, great recipe!

  36. LeslieB says

    I made this tonight. I must confess I’m one of those non-goat cheese lovers. I threw in a TB of a creamy garlic cheese dip I had on hand! I think it still ranks as low-fat. Loved this and could not get enough! Thank you!

  37. Jennie says

    Hi Kate! I’m relatively new to the cooking world and am planning to make this for friends tomorrow night. Does it matter what type of flour I use? Thanks for all the wonderful recipes (the eggplant spaghetti with miso and brown butter sauce was life-changing)!

    • says

      Hey Jennie! So glad you enjoyed the eggplant spaghetti. Any flour with gluten should work as a thickener here, so all purpose or whole wheat would work. Let me know if you need other suggestions! Hope it turns out great.

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