Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

12 oz. box whole wheat penne pasta
Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
15 oz. can pure pumpkin puree
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


  1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain and set aside.
  2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add rosemary and fry, stirring constantly, until the herb is just starting to brown; 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  3. Carefully add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, parmesan cheese, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir until heated through; 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat. Season generously with salt. If sauce is too thick, gradually add reserved pasta water until desired thickness is reached.
  5. Serve pasta with fried rosemary and additional red pepper flakes if desired. 

Chef's note: Frying the rosemary in olive oil not only turns the herb into a crispy garnish, it infuses the oil to create a delicious base for the sauce!

Yield: 4 servings