A couple days ago our friend and Three Many Cooks reader, Alice, Facebook messaged me and said she’d found a pumpkin cream sauce for pasta and was wondering if my technique for substituting evaporated milk for heavy cream would work.

I didn’t see why not and asked her to report back with her results. And she did! She thought the sauce was too thick and gloppy and the flavors needed bumping up. She said she would be interested in how I might “instinctively tweak the recipe.”

I love those recipe challenges and so yesterday, when Maggy and Andy came for dinner and requested that we make cheese ravioli with my new KitchenAid ravioli attachment, I naturally thought of topping them Alice’s pumpkin sauce.

After Maggy and I had a blast making ravioli, we turned our attention to the sauce. Here’s the original recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

I started by substituting more pungent garlic for the shallot and a good dose of sage for their pinch of nutmeg. I doubled the pumpkin, substituted evaporated milk and chicken broth for heavy cream, which made it lighter and allowed the pumpkin flavor to come through. When Maggy tasted it she said, “Man, you nailed that on the first try!”

What Maggy and I love about this recipe is that it’s so utterly simple, making it perfect for a weeknight supper. And if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken, it’s vegetarian! So here is our Meatless Monday offering. And get ready for some more great pumpkin recipes this week.

Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce
Serve 5 

1 container (20 ounces) cheese ravioli
1 tablespoon butter
3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil . Add ravioli and, using back-of-box times as a guide, cook, stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until ravioli are just tender. Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat butter, garlic, and sage in a large saucepan until fragrant and garlic starts to turn golden. Add pumpkin, milk, broth, and syrup; bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until Alfredo sauce consistency, just a couple of minutes. Adjust seasonings including salt and pepper to taste. Divide ravioli among 5 plates, spoon generously with sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.