These are the most delicious Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce! Kept it simple using store bought gnocchi, cause the star of the show is this incredible pumpkin sauce flavoured with garlic, onion, sage, warm spices and a touch of brandy. Don’t skip the crispy sage to top it up, it brings great flavour and texture. Warm, cozy and ready in just 25 minutes! Basically, autumn on a plate!
It’s a big day today: first official pumpkin recipe of the season! Even though it was still around 25ºC yesterday, this Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce were so warm and cozy, it was giving me all those fall vibes.
The last time I made pasta with pumpkin sauce it was around a year ago and I didn’t see my partner very convinced. And this was because he isn’t keen on sweet-salty dishes, so using pumpkin for a pasta sauce… Well, he told me that it wasn’t his thing. I was committed though to convince him this autumn, so I took my original recipe and reduced the amount of pumpkin purée , added more sage (not just as garnish but mixed into the pumpkin sauce too), swapped the sweetish roasted garlic for raw garlic (which also simplifies the recipe) and incorporated nutmeg. And voila! This time my Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce were a success!
He liked them so much that he told me that it had to be my next recipe on the blog, so here I am today, writing it for you, nervous because I hope not to disappoint you. I hope you like it a lot too!
Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Ingredients
I always like to share a few notes about the ingredients with you, in case you’re wondering if you can substitute any ingredient or omit them, or learn about why I use them in the recipe. It was not going to be different for these gnocchi with pumpkin sauce.
- Gnocchi: I always feel they are perfect for autumnal and wintery cold days (maybe because I just make them homemade in autumn-winter, even if today I used already made ones? Or because they are a bit more hearty than other types of pasta?). In any case, you can use any type of pasta you like. If you opt for ready-made gnocchi, make sure that the ingredients on the package only contain potatoes – if you choose potato gnocchi, the most common ones-, flour and/or semolina, eggs, salt and max some type of oil (sunflower or olive).
- Butter and olive oil: I use the butter to toast the sage. The butter also gets brown providing a delicious nutty aroma. Then, to sauté the rest of the ingredients, since we need a little more fat, I prefer to use olive oil because it prevents the milk solids in the butter from getting burnt.
- Sage: it is an aromatic plant that I associate a lot with autumn because I find that it goes very well with pumpkin, roasted pork (which I only make in cold seasons), apple… Its strong aroma and even a slightly bitter touch at the end pair perfectly with sweet-savoury food.
- Onion and garlic: they provide extra flavour.
- Pumpkin purée: the heart of the sauce. I usually use ready-made pumpkin purée, the typical American one like this one from Libby’s which is 100% pumpkin. I find that in such a recipe using homemade or store-bought doesn’t make any difference in terms of flavour, while it makes a huge difference in terms of time and money – making the purée at home takes time and the canned one is very cheap. However, sometimes I can’t find it and I turn to the homemade version :). In the frequently asked questions section I explain how I make it.
- Brandy or Cognac: the Grandma’s touch. My grandmother used brandy or cognac for many sauces because they add depth of flavour, which in this case also helps reduce the sweet touch of the pumpkin. You can use one or the other interchangeably, since, simplifying the explanation quite a bit, cognac is a type of brandy.
- Single Cream: it is cream with 18% fat. It adds even more creaminess to the sauce. Skip it if you want a lighter sauce version.
- White pepper and Nutmeg: not only do they go great with pumpkin, but I also love them in milk-based sauces (for example, they are a must in my bechamel). Both spices contribute to providing a sort of lightness to the dish while also being warm and cozy.
- Salt: simply essential.
What to Serve with Pumpkin Sauce
You can double or triple the amount of this creamy pumpkin sauce so you can use it throughout the week in multiple dishes or even freeze it for a later use. What other things can you serve it with besides pasta?
- White fish such as cod, hake or sea bass for example. You can pan fry it and cover it with this sauce for a special touch.
- Grilled or pan-fried chicken breasts, the same idea as with fish.
- Okay, lasagna would be “pasta” but I wanted to put it as an option because this sauce can serve as a filling between layers of lasagna sheets mixed with ricotta for example and spinach, a little extra cheese like mozzarella and Parmesan and that’s it.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use butternut squash?
Sure you can! It’d be equally delicious. In all honesty, I can’t taste the difference in this recipe.
How can I make pumpkin purée at home?
You can make pumpkin purée by roasting or steaming pumpkin (or butternut squash). In either of the methods, I peel and cut the pumpkin into cubes. In the case of roasting it, preheat the oven to 200ºC and place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray, trying not to overlap them too much. Bake them without salt, oil or anything else for about 30 minutes until soft. If you want to avoid peeling the pumpkin, you could halve it and roast it flesh side down (skin side up), although take into account that it takes much longer to bake.
Whether roasting or steaming it, once the pumpkin is soft, mash it or blend it and strain it through a fine mesh colander for 30min-1h to drain excess liquid off. Then transfer to a jar or air-tight container and store in the fridge for 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
Can I blend the sauce?
Yes! If you want an extra creamy and silky sauce, you can blend it. I sometimes do it when I have guests. Keep in mind though that this adds one more step and more pots to clean later.
More Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Recipes
If you make this Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Gnocchi with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
- 500 g gnocchi
- 25 g butter
- A handful of sage leaves
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 g onion - finely chopped (about half medium-large sized onion)
- 3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
- 225 g canned pumpkin puré - see notes for homemade
- 2 tbsp brandy - or cognac
- 120 ml single cream
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside. The butter should have browned a bit.
- Add the olive oil to the same pan with the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, it takes around 10 minutes. In parallel, bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the gnocchi later.
- Add the pumpkin purée to the pan, then the brandy or cognac and season with salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
- Stir the cream into the sauce with the white pepper and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low.
- At this point, cook the gnocchi. Add a generous teaspoon of salt to the pot and pour in the gnocchi. Cook them until they start to float. Reserve some of the water.
- Use the gnocchi cooking water to adjust the consistency of the sauce, adding a ladle worth at a time until obtaining your desired texture (for me the best texture resembles tomato sauce – neither as thin as pumpkin soup nor as thick as the purée). Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Add the gnocchi to the pan, mix with the sauce and adjust the consistency with the reserved water if the sauce is too thick.
- Chop the crispy sage except for about 5 leaves that we will optionally use to garnish, and mix it with the gnocchi.
- Serve with the remaining sage leaves on top and enjoy!
- If you use another type of pasta which requires longer cooking time, I recommend that you bring the water to a boil in step 1 and as soon as it boils, cook the pasta. While you are making the sauce, the pasta will cook and you will have both ready at the same time.
- Canned pumpkin purée should be 100% purée (no other ingredients). If you can’t find it, you can make it at home by roasting or steaming pumpkin (or butternut squash). In either of the methods, peel and cut the pumpkin into cubes. In the case of roasting it, preheat the oven to 200ºC and place the pumpkin cubes on a baking tray, trying not to overlap them too much. Bake them without salt, oil or anything else for about 30 minutes until soft. If you want to avoid peeling the pumpkin, you could halve it and roast it flesh side down (skin side up), although take into account that it takes much longer to bake. Whether roasting or steaming it, once the pumpkin is soft, mash it or blend it and strain it through a fine mesh colander for 30min-1h to drain excess liquid off. Then transfer to a jar or air-tight container and store in the fridge for 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.