This pumpkin vodka pasta is a serious hug in a bowl. A silky smooth and rich sauce coats every noodle, then is topped with crispy sage, parmesan cheese and spicy breadcrumbs. Absolute heaven of a dinner!

I’ve got the coziest bowl of pumpkin pasta for you today!

pumpkin vodka pasta with spicy breadcrumbs

This bowl contains a beautiful thing: pasta tossed in my homemade vodka sauce with pumpkin, topped with crispy sage, spicy breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. It absolutely screams fall and is fabulous to make once it starts to get chilly out.

It’s also really easy! So that’s a bonus. 

A hug in a bowl that’s simple to make. SIGN  ME UP.

pumpkin vodka sauce base

One of my favorite meals of all time is my vodka pasta with rosemary breadcrumbs. Oh my gosh. I could eat it every week. Seriously, it is so super delicious! 

The sauce is simple. It’s silky and smooth and rich – it coats the pasta beautifully. 

Now for years I’ve wanted to experiment with pumpkin vodka sauce so here we are. As if it couldn’t get any better?!

pumpkin vodka pasta

I make my classic vodka sauce which uses a base of garlic, shallots and tomato paste. YES. The tomato paste is key here. I saute it with the garlic and shallots and let it caramelize in the pan. It adds so much depth of flavor to the sauce and makes it super silky. The texture and feel of this sauce on the spoon is amazing.

Next, I stir in some pumpkin puree! This only adds to our super smooth sauce. It’s delish. 

pumpkin vodka pasta with spicy breadcrumbs

The kicker is that you want to add a little bit of spice. Pumpkin is fairly neutral when it comes to flavor – the spice is what allows it to shine. I like to do this in the form of nutmeg or even allspice. I avoid cinnamon, but the tiniest pinch of ground cloves would probably be okay. Nutmeg is my number one choice! 

Starchy pasta water is an important ingredient here as it helps bring the sauce together. So does vodka and heavy cream. The sauce ends up being so silky smooth and perfect for coating just about any noodle. 

pumpkin vodka pasta with spicy breadcrumbs

To go with the pasta, I crisp up some sage on the side. Heat a skillet with butter, once it begins to brown, toss in your sage. It gets crisp in a few minutes. The flavor is unreal and it is the perfect complement to the hint of pumpkin in the pasta. It also works with the parmesan, of course. 

I use that same skillet and make a few spicy breadcrumbs. Add them to the skillet with some butter and crushed red pepper. Toast until golden and crunchy and absolutely deeeelish. These are good enough to eat with a spoon – and even better sprinkled on the sauce-coated pasta. They add the crunchy bits that everyone loves so much. 

Then pour it all in a bowl and serve with lots of parmesan. The perfect noodle coated in a decadent sauce. It’s a dream meal everyday.

pumpkin vodka pasta with spicy breadcrumbs

Pumpkin Vodka Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs

Pumpkin Vodka Pasta with Spicy Breadcrumbs

This pumpkin vodka pasta is a serious hug in a bowl. A silky smooth and rich sauce coats every noodle, then is topped with crispy sage, parmesan cheese and spicy breadcrumbs. Absolute heaven of a dinner!
5 from 11 votes
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  • 1 pound pasta, (I like a short cut noodle here)
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons vodka, (I like Tito’s)
  • cup heavy cream
  • cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

crispy sage & spicy breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the directions. Be sure to reserve 1 ½ to 2 cups of pasta water for the sauce.
  • While the water is boiling, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the shallots and garlic with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions soften. Add in the tomato paste and stir, cooking for 5 minutes. The color will darken - this is where the flavor is. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until combined.
  • Stream in the vodka and stir, scraping the brown bits and flavor from the bottom. Stir in ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in more pasta water if the mixture is super thick. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan, stirring until the cheese melts. Add in the nutmeg.
  • Taste and season the sauce with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well. If needed, you can stream in more of the pasta water until it’s creamy and silky. Top with the crispy sage, spicy bread crumbs and a sprinkle of parmesan.
  • Serve immediately.

crispy sage & spicy breadcrumbs

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until they are crispy, about 1 minute. Remove and place them on a paper towel to dry.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Once it’s sizzling and even browning a bit, stir in the breadcrumbs and pepper flakes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until golden and toasty, Throw on top of the pasta!

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pumpkin vodka pasta with spicy breadcrumbs

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