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Meatless Monday Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Come fall, “make pumpkin pasta” automatically finds its way onto my “to do” list.  I start craving it around Labor day, but make myself wait until the leaves begin to turn all kinds of fall colors and the air takes on that definite fall chill.  Then I’m all over it.

Oh, this is good stuff, folks, and it just seemed like the perfect fall dish for Meatless Monday.  I love pumpkin anything, but this may be my very favorite way to eat it.  What we have here is a creamy pumpkin sauce spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and flecked with fresh sage.  It shouldn’t, but it all just works together.  Really well. 

I’ve been making this for a few years now, and over time I’ve played with the flavors a little.  Pumpkin has great flavor potential, but on its own it can be rather lacking.  So I’ve bumped up the amount of spice and added goat cheese, which brings a lovely tang to the party.  I’ve cut back on the broth, which further concentrated the flavors, and added some kick with a little crushed red pepper.  With a light dusting of grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh sage, our mousy pumpkin pasta took on some attitude!  Here’s the recipe…. 

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray

Click here for a printable recipe

1 pound campanelle or penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 to 3 oz goat cheese
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper (or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots, crushed red pepper (if using), and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the  broth, pumpkin, salt, pepper and cream. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk in the goat cheese and 1 tablespoon of the fresh sage.  Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Can add a little of the Parmesan cheese here if you like.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, cover and let sit off the heat for 5 minutes or so.  Place in a serving bowl and top with the remaining fresh sage and a good dusting of the Parmesan cheese.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese at the table.

Reader Comments (19)

Your adventure in moving from California (where I grew up) to the Midwest is such a good read. So glad I stumbled upon your blog, and I intend to return often for your delicious recipes and fascinating writing. In the meantime, take care. Be back soon.

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbbrunophotography

Thank so much, Bonnie, and welcome to Circle B Kitchen! Look forward to hearing from you again.

October 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Wow this looks so delicious!! I'm going to have to make this one of these days... I've never had pumpkin pasta sauce, but this sounds intriguing and looks amazing!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLouisa

Hope you give it a try, Louisa. It really is GOOD!

October 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Thanks for creating this. (You had me at red pepper flakes.) It's fantastic - a restaurant quality dish in less than 30 minutes.

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Thanks, Catherine. The crushed red pepper flakes really make this special. We love it! Thanks for stopping in!

October 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Oh wow, this looks delicious! I have a few pumpkins from my garden that I'm looking to do something other than dessert with. This is perfect!

This would be a great post to link to Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

♥ Rebecca Jean
Midnight Maniac

October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Jean

Made this tonight and it is absolutely fantastic. I think this is the first time I've ever used pumpkin in a savory dish, had no idea what I was missing all this time!

November 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRaychela

I found this recipe a couple of months, and just got around to making it tonight. It was well worth the wait! Delicious!

January 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Just made this tonight, loved it! I'm no master chef, but this was easy to prepare and the results were excellent. My Italian boyfriend, who is quite particular about his pastas, was a bit skeptical when I first suggested this recipe. But, on his third helping, he was still saying "mmm" after every bite. Thank you for the recipe!

February 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

You're welcome, Rachel. I'm so glad you tried it. It's surprisingly good, isn't it?

February 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Water coming out from my mouth,its look so yummy.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhole food health

Made this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous! Very easy too!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

So glad you liked it, Brittany! This is one of our favorite fall pasta dishes. Thanks for letting us know!

November 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Could you sub cream cheese for the goat cheese? My kids aren't huge goat cheese fans.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I think you could, Jennifer. You don't really taste the goat cheese, though, it just makes it creamy and gives it a little tang. I think if you want to substitute, I would use maybe sour cream. Without the flavor boost from the goat cheese, this can taste a little bland. Let me know what you decide to do and how it comes out. Good to hear from you!

December 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Oh my stars! This looks like a dish that would knock the socks off dinner guests! It would be a marvelous contribution to this month's Shine Supper Club (our theme is one-pot meals). Hope you'll join us!

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


Can I sub the cream with 2% milk?

Heavy cream does a number on me :/

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

You can just leave out the cream altogether, Daisy. Most of the time I don't even add it in. You can add a little more goat cheese or a dollop of Greek Yogurt if you'd like too. Enjoy!

November 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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