This oven-baked pasta is the epitome of cold weather comfort food. It is so creamy and with flavors of pumpkin, sage, Italian sausage, Parmesan cheese, and cracked black pepper you will fall in love. So let’s dig into this pan of hot, bubbly, cheesy pasta! You with me?
Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Sage and Sausage
I had such a hard time naming this recipe! I wanted to keep it simple but it has so many delicious fall flavors that I wanted to include them ALL. It started as a simple pumpkin pasta bake but then I added fresh sage and spicy Italian sausage. And then cheese! Every pasta needs cheese and parmesan was the clear choice because of it’s nuttiness. It still felt like it needed something so I added a healthy dose of cracked black pepper which gives it a peppery bite. Now you can see my predicament. By the end of it this pasta bake was now a Pumpkin, Sage, Sausage, Parmesan, and Black Pepper Pasta Bake. A little too long winded. But don’t underestimate the amount of flavor that is in this recipe.
What You’ll Need
- Penne Pasta- You can also use other pasta shapes (just don’t use long types like spaghetti and Fettuccini)
- Italian Sausage- I used chicken sausage but any variety works.
- Diced Onion and Minced Garlic
- Chicken Broth- You can also use vegetable broth and even low sodium varieties.
- Pumpkin Puree- Make sure you don’t accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling, we want unsalted pumpkin puree.
- Italian Seasoning
- Fresh Sage- Fresh is the best, I don’t recommend subbing this out for dried sage.
- Cracked Black Pepper and Salt
- Cream Cheese- Full fat works the best. I noticed reduced fat had a tendency to separate the sauce.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
Here’s Your Game Plan
This pasta bake does require a few steps before you can throw this in the oven, but don’t worry they are easy.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta for 8 minutes. We want it slightly underdone because it will continue to bake in the oven.
- Brown your sausage and then sauté your onions and garlic in the reserved grease.
- Add the cooked sausage, broth, pumpkin, Italian seasoning, sage, pepper and salt. Simmer and reduce.
- Whisk in the cream cheese, cream, and part of the Parmesan cheese until thickened.
- Add your partially cooked noodles to the sauce. Pour into your baking pan, top with the parmesan cheese, and pop it in the oven.
By the time the dishes are washed and the table is set, your pasta will be ready to eat!
A Special Topping: Fried Sage
Sage can be very pungent if you eat it raw. I recommend shallow frying it in a pan. This adds for a crunchy delicious topping!
All you need to do is heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Drop a few sage leaves in at a time until they crisp up (about 5-6 seconds). Transfer to a paper towel covered dish. Crumble on top of your pasta when you are ready to serve.
Can You Freeze This Pasta Bake?
YES! This extends it’s shelf life exponentially and means you can enjoy it on busy days, lazy days, or take it to your neighbor. It will keep for up to 3 months if prepared and stored properly:
- Fully assemble (but do not bake) your pasta bake in an aluminum baking pan. Cover it with aluminum foil and then plastic wrap to keep the air from getting in. Freeze.
- When you are ready to eat it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight (do not thaw it out at room temperature).
- Bake the pasta dish as specified in the recipe card below.
TIP: Write in permanent marker the name of the dish, date it was made, and cooking instructions. There is nothing worse than a freezer full of unknown food.
Thanks for dropping in! Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter for fun NEW CONTENT and CONVERSATION delivered to your inbox. If you love this recipe save it now so you can find it later. Thank you for your support!
Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Sage and Sausage
- 9×13 Baking Dish
- 16 ounces Penne pasta; partially cooked
- 1 pound Italian sausage; I used chicken sausage
- 1 medium onion; diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic; minced
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 12 ounces pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1 teaspoon black pepper; freshly cracked
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ block cream cheese
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese
- 8 fried sage leaves; for topping *see notes*
- Preheat oven to 375° F and center the oven rack. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your noodles for 8 minutes. Strain and do not rinse once done.
- In a large saucepan brown the Italian sausage until crumbly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set it aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the grease.
- In the same saucepan with the 1 tablespoon of grease sauté your onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and allow it to sauté until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add the Italian sausage, chicken broth, pumpkin puree, Italian seasoning, sage, pepper, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer on low. Allow the mixture to reduce for about 8 minutes
- Whisk in the cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and a ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Continue to whisk until it becomes creamy and slightly thickened.
- Add your slightly cooked Penne pasta to creamy mixture. Stir until all the Penne is evenly coated.
- Transfer to the baking dish and top with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
- Top with fried sage leaves *see notes* and serve.
- Covered and in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- Freeze fully assembled for up to three months.
- Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
- Drop a few sage leaves in at a time until they crisp up (about 5-6 seconds).
- Transfer to a paper towel covered dish.
- Crumble on top of your pasta when you are ready to serve.
If you make my Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Sage and Sausage, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!