Enjoy the finest Hokkaido pasta sauce with Parmesan cheese. An easy-to-follow recipe for any flavorful pumpkin.
This Hokkaido pasta sauce recipe is my first pumpkin recipe this season, but if you have been searching for other pumpkin recipes here, you might have noticed that I am slightly obsessed with pumpkin.
For me, almost every recipe I have ever cooked with pumpkin was either “amazing,” “the best,” or “unbelievable,” and so on. I just love pumpkin!!!!
Jump to recipe
What is Hokkaido pumpkin?
Hokkaido pumpkin, also known as Red Kuri squash, is a type of winter squash. It is a small to medium-sized squash with a round, reddish-orange skin and bright orange flesh.
It has a sweet and nutty flavor, making it a popular choice for various recipes, including soups, stews, roasted dishes, and creamy pumpkin pasta sauces.
We often serve this Hokkaido sauce not only over spaghetti (or any kind of pasta shape) but also over gnocchi, spätzle, or even rice.
- Hokkaido pumpkin is always my first choice, but butternut squash is also delicious.
- You will need a small Hokkaido or squash to make this pasta sauce, or rather just about half of a regular-sized pumpkin or squash.
- I can rarely find such a small piece, so I buy one and plan to make two pumpkin recipes in 2 or 3 days.
- Use the rest of the pumpkin or squash for making other dishes, for instance, pumpkin soup, pumpkin lasagna, or pumpkin fritters.
- Evaporated milk with 4% or 7.5% fat content. Evaporated milk makes the sauce lighter and less calorie-laden, but you can use single cream or heavy cream instead.
- Freshly squeezed orange juice. If you don't have an orange, use mandarin or clementine juice instead or leave it. The orange juice gives the Hokkaido pasta sauce a delicious little fruity and fresh touch, but you will still like it without it.
- Turmeric enhances the taste and imparts a vibrant yellow hue to the sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: I always recommend using freshly grated cheese; it tastes and melts better in the sauce. Pre-grated cheese often contains additives that hinder its melting ability and may result in a grainy texture in the sauce.
- Other ingredients: Onion, garlic, olive oil, butter, vegetable broth, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper.
How to make pumpkin sauce for pasta?
- Prepare: Wash and dry the pumpkin. If using Hokkaido pumpkin, you will not have to peel it. If you use butternut squash or any other pumpkin or squash, please peel them.
- Weigh 1 lb/ 450 g you need and chop that piece into small cubes.
- Chop the onion, garlic and parsley.
- Saute onion, garlic, and pumpkin in the butter and oil until slightly softened and glossy. Add turmeric (1).
- Simmer: Add vegetable stock, evaporated milk (2), and half of the parsley. Cook, uncovered, until the pumpkin is soft and the sauce has thickened (3).
- Pasta: In the meantime, start cooking the pasta.
- Blend the Hokkaido pasta sauce (4).
- Add orange juice, adjust the taste with salt and pepper, and stir well. If the sauce is too thick, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk to thin it just a little.
- Stir the Parmesan and the remaining chopped parsley into the Hokkaido pasta sauce, and serve immediately with gnocchi, spaghetti, or other kind of pasta.
Choose the right pumpkin, a variety known for its rich flavor and creamy texture, like Hokkaido, butternut squash, or sugar pie pumpkins. These are ideal for making a flavorful sauce.
Fresh ingredients: Use fresh ingredients, including freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The fresh cheese will enhance the sauce's taste and texture.
Texture control: If you want an ultra-smooth sauce, use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.
An immersion blender is the best choice, but you can also use a food processor. Cool the sauce slightly, transfer it to the food processor's bowl, and blend in short pulses until smooth. Remember to scrape down the sides. If the food processor is small, blend the Hokkaido pasta sauce in two batches.
Parmesan cheese is not considered vegetarian because it is made using calf rennet, an animal-derived enzyme. To make this Hokkaido pasta sauce recipe vegetarian, look for a vegetarian-friendly Parmesan cheese substitute or use a cheese labeled as vegetarian Parmesan, produced using microbial or plant-based enzymes instead of animal rennet.
Yes. Unsweetened coconut milk from a can is the tastiest and creamiest alternative to evaporated milk. Otherwise, you can use any plant-based milk, such as almond or soy milk. Replace the cheese with nutritional yeast to taste.
You can make it in advance and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
Add a splash of milk or reserved pasta cooking water to the Hokkaido pasta sauce and stir until you reach your desired consistency.
How to store and reheat
- Refrigerate the Hokkaido pasta sauce in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
- The sauce (without the pasta) can be easily reheated. While reheating, add a bit more evaporated or regular milk and stir often.
- Pasta mixed with Hokkaido sauce can be reheated in the microwave.
What to serve with pumpkin pasta?
More pumpkin recipes
Hokkaido Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Large saucepan or Dutch oven
- Immersion blender or food processor
- 1 lb Hokkaido pumpkin or butternut squash, 450 g, Note 1
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- a small bunch of parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup vegetable stock 230 ml, Note 2
- ⅔ cup evaporated milk 4% or 7.5 % fat content + 2-3 tablespoons more to thin the sauce, 150 ml, Note 3
- 3 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan freshly grated
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- gnocchi or pasta to serve
- more Parmesan to serve
- Prepare Hokkaido: Wash and dry it; you don't have to peel it. If using butternut squash, you will have to peel it. Remove the seeds and cut the flesh into small cubes. 1 lb Hokkaido pumpkin
- Chop onion, garlic cloves, and parsley.1 medium onion + 2 garlic cloves + a small bunch of parsley
- Saute: Heat the butter and the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and pumpkin cubes, stir well, and cook until the onions are translucent and the pumpkin glossy. 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter
- Add turmeric and stir well for about 30 seconds. Add half of the parsley and stir.¼ teaspoon turmeric +½ of the parsley
- Simmer: Slowly pour in the broth and the condensed milk. Cook on high heat, uncovered, until the sauce thickens. Blend the sauce. Add the orange juice and salt and pepper to taste.1 cup vegetable stock /230 ml + ⅔ cup evaporated milk / 150 ml +3 tablespoons orange juice + fine sea salt and black pepper
- Adjust consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add 2-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk. Stir in the rest of the parsley and Parmesan.½ of the parsley + 2 tablespoons Parmesan
- Serve with pasta or gnocchi and more grated Parmesan on top.
- Pumpkin: Choose a variety known for its rich flavor and creamy texture, like Hokkaido, butternut squash, or sugar pie pumpkins. You don’t have to peel Hokkaido but peel any other sort.
- Vegetable broth made using stock cubes is perfectly fine. Evaporated milk makes the sauce lighter. However, you can replace it with a single or heavy cream.
- Vegetarian sauce: Use vegetarian hard cheese (Parmesan is not vegetarian as it is made with animal rennet).
- Vegan sauce: Replace the milk with canned coconut milk or other plant-based milk (soy, oat, or almond milk, for instance). Replace the cheese with nutritional yeast to taste.