Creamy vegan pumpkin rigatoni topped with fresh sage. This quick and easy pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes!
This easy pumpkin rigatoni is just as delicious as it is easy to make. I love just how creamy and full of flavour this sauce is without the need to add any dairy.
Inspired by my vegan mac and cheese recipe, I wanted to make a warm and comforting creamy pasta dish that celebrates what I believe to be a totally underrated vegetable – the humble pumpkin.
I love pumpkin in all it forms, but it’s never sweeter and more delicious than when it’s roasted. That is where we start with making this sauce. It’s a little extra effort but even with this step you’ll still have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
What you’ll need
Besides your favourite pasta, to make the sauce you’ll need a few basic ingredients;
- Pumpkin. I use Kent pumpkin for a bold, sweet flavour that forms the base of the sauce.
- Garlic. Oven roasted to be sweet and delicious.
- Reserved pasta cooking water. This starchy water helps to thicken the sauce.
- Coconut milk. The type from the can to give the sauce that extra creamy texture.
- Salt. To enhance the flavor.
- Nutmeg. Freshly grated nutmeg here is everything and makes this dish a bit fancy.
- Sage. For garnish, you can’t go past this classic flavour partner for pumpkin.
How to make pumpkin rigatoni
Start by chopping up the pumpkin and roasting it in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. You could just boil or steam the pumpkin instead however roasting it will ensure much more flavour and a more creamy texture to the sauce as boiling or steaming will result in more water being absorbed.
As you’re roasting your pumpkin anyway, it’s a great opportunity to sneak in a little roasted garlic. It’s so much easier to do than you might expect. Simply wrap a couple of cloves of garlic still in their skins in a piece of aluminium foil and a small drizzle of olive oil. Place on the baking tray with the pumpkin and then when the pumpkin is done, the perfectly roasted clove will just squeeze out of the skin and be ready to use.
While the pumpkin is roasting away, cook your pasta. I use rigatoni as the big tubes with the ridges hold a lot of the delicious sauce, however shells or penne would work in the same way as well.
Once your pumpkin is done, throw it in the blender or food processor with the roasted garlic cloves, a cup of reserved pasta cooking water, coconut milk, salt to taste and some freshly grated nutmeg. You can use regular ground nutmeg here, but there is something special about grating it fresh, it provides the perfect flavour combination with the pumpkin.
Once your sauce has been blended and is smooth and creamy, mix it through your cooked pasta. Serve with some chopped sage or parsley.
What pumpkin should I use?
For this recipe I used a Kent pumpkin (sometimes referred to as a JAP or ‘Just Another Pumpkin’) because I find they have a beautifully sweet flavour when roasted and are always easy to find, however you can use your favourite variety such as Jarrahdale or Butternut.
In Australia we have so many different varieties of pumpkin so depending on the season, you should always have a supply available in the supermarket.
In the US I believe pumpkin varieties are a lot different than here, so to ensure the best flavour and texture to your sauce, I would recommend using a butternut squash which is the same as an Australian butternut pumpkin.
This pasta is best eaten straight away, however if you do have leftovers you can store them in the fridge and just reheat the next day. It will taste perfectly fine but you may lose some of the creamy texture.
This is the easiest, fake fancy dinner that tastes super creamy and indulgent. Plus this dish is much healthier than it’s full cream, dairy equivalent. If you want something a bit different but still super quick and easy then this is the perfect recipe to put on the meal plan this week.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni
- 400 grams pumpkin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil approx
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup canned coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 400 grams rigatoni pasta
- fresh sage optional to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and peel and chop the pumpkin into 1.5 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Wrap 2 cloves of garlic (in their skins) in a piece of foil with a small drizzle of olive oil and place on the tray with the pumpkin. Cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and starting to brown.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, add the roasted pumpkin, peeled roasted garlic, pasta water, coconut milk, salt and nutmeg. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Mix the sauce through the cooked pasta and serve immediately with fresh sage if desired.
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