Pumpkin Orecchiette with Spinach and Sage

So, technically, it’s still Summer until September twenty-something. And the weather has been glorious here in coastal Maine. Warm and breezy with deep blue skies, cool enough to sleep under down with the windows open. We spend all day outside, at the boardwalk, the beach, the farmer’s market, in the shops and galleries on Main Street, walking all over town. Leaves are changing fast and pumpkins are popping up on porches. It’s the perfect in between season, and everything is delicious.

This supper is going to become a favorite in our house. It’s creamy and a little spicy, a tiny bit sweet with a hint of nutmeg, packed with orange and green nutrients, and, of course, my favorite pasta of the moment, those darling little ears, orecchiette. Cooking with pumpkin is easy, but if you prefer, canned will work just fine in this dish. This is the thing to eat here, now. I’m going back for more.

Pumpkin Orecchiette with Spinach and Sage


  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin yielding 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 lb orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sage, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice sugar pumpkin in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and peel off the skin. Puree with a potato masher or in a food processor. Alternatively, open a can of unsweetened pumpkin puree.

Step 2: Cook orrecchiete in salted water until very al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

Step 3: In a large skillet heat olive oil. Saute onion, garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and nutmeg, seasoned with salt, until the onions are soft and translucent. Transfer into pasta pot.

Step 3: Stir pumpkin, chicken broth, sour cream and spinach into the pasta mixture. Spread in a buttered baking dish.

Step 4: Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and cheese and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions: Italian chicken sausage and Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin ale

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


    1. Any small pasta shape could work, theoretically, but these collect the savory sauce and are just fun to eat. I love fall and pumpkins…so stay tuned for lots more recipes!

  1. Just discovered your blog a few weeks back and immediately bookmarked this recipe to try. I made it for dinner last week and loved it! I used regular Italian sausage, but next time I make it I plan to use a chicken-apple variety. I was so excited to have plenty left over for lunches on the next two days.

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