A recipe for Tortellini with Pumpkin Cream Sauce! Tortellini are tossed in a cream sauce flavored with pumpkin puree, onion, garlic, Parmesan, and a little nutmeg.
This Tortellini with Pumpkin Cream Sauce is such a wonderful way to use up leftover pumpkin puree during the fall season. It also comes together in only 30 minutes! Serve the pasta alongside salad or meat for a quick weeknight meal or even on its own for an easy lunch.
Boil Tortellini, store-bought or homemade, in water until just tender and set aside to drain. As they cook, melt butter in a pan and add the onion to cook until softened. Stir in the garlic, followed by the pumpkin puree. Season and mix in the heavy cream to create the sauce. Continue to simmer until thickened before folding in the cooked tortellini and freshly grated Parmesan.
Serve the Tortellini immediately after cooking. If desired, top with crispy sage leaves along with additional Parmesan and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
A Few Tips:
I made this recipe with store-bought refrigerated cheese tortellini. If you don’t have tortellini available, this sauce would also be delicious with another favorite medium-sized shape.
Cook the tortellini until just al dente, barely tender. The pasta will continue to soften a little more as it is mixed into the sauce.
Make sure to use pure pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin), not pumpkin pie filling.
Shred the Parmesan at home and avoid pre-shredded if possible. This will help create a smoother texture. Make sure the mixture is not bubbling when adding in the Parmesan. Fold it into the sauce after turning off the heat. Gently place back over low heat only if needed to melt the cheese.
If the sauce is too thick, slowly pour in a little of the reserved pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. If too thin, add a little more cheese.
Looking for more recipes with pumpkin?
This recipe was originally posted in November 2013 and updated September 2021.
Tortellini with Pumpkin Cream Sauce Recipe
Adapted from Handle the Heat
Tortellini with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
- 20 ounces (567 grams) cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter
- 12 fresh sage leaves optional
- 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 3/4 cup (168 grams) pure pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups (300 milliliters) heavy cream
- 2 ounces (57 grams) freshly grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook until they rise to the top and are just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain. Set aside 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of the pasta water.
- In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. If using, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Set the sage leaves aside on a plate.
- Add the onion to the butter and cook until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Stir in the pumpkin and season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- After a minute, add the cream. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cook, continuing to stir, until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Fold in the drained tortellini to coat and remove from heat. Gently stir in the Parmesan until blended.
- If the sauce is too thick, slowly add the reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency.
- Serve immediately topped with more Parmesan, a sprinkling of black pepper, and the crispy sage leaves if desired.