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Feeding the Fam: Pumpkin Marinara

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

Pumpkin plays a clear role in sweet baked goods each fall, but there is also room for it on the savory side of things. Like sweet potatoes and squash, the sweet pulp of pumpkin pairs well with strong earthy flavors and a dusting of salty cheese. At least once a year, I like to bake a whole pumpkin. I scrape out the strings and seeds and fill it with bread, cheeses, dried sage and stock. It makes the most incredibly decadent fall casserole you’ve ever tasted.

However, today I want to share an easy recipe for an everyday pumpkin dish that you can make on the busiest of weeknights. It pleases the whole family and really is a great way to enjoy a savory pumpkin meal without it becoming an all-day project.

This simple sauce is perfect for serving with a piping hot bowl of pasta. It also tastes great spooned over spaghetti squash, used in lasagna, and even on top of pizza. It is basically an everyday tomato sauce with a delicious pumpkin twist. The sweetness of the pumpkin cuts the acidity of the tomatoes, and the sauce is milder and richer than just plain marinara. I guarantee it will quickly become your new, favorite go-to sauce this fall.

RECIPE: Penne with Pumpkin Marinara

Yields 4 servings


  • 1 pound penne or similar short pasta
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces pure pumpkin puree
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, warm the oil until bubbling, then add the onion and sauté it over medium heat until it is soft and fragrant.
  2. Carefully add the tomatoes and pumpkin, and stir it together with a wooden spoon. Then add the chicken stock. Allow the sauce to simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until it has thickened.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta just until al dente. Drain and reserve.
  4. Once the sauce has thickened, stir the pasta into it and add the Parmesan. Stir everything together until completely coated. Serve hot.

Recipe via The Naptime Chef

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