Thanksgiving week is upon us! If you are still struggling with your menu and are looking for a non-traditional side dish, this One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Bacon Pasta is where it’s at! And when I say this dish is creamy, I mean OMGGGG it’s creamy!
The beauty of a one-pot pasta dish is that when you cook the pasta right in the sauce, the pasta naturally helps tighten up the sauce, so you don’t need to add a bunch of heavy cream or cheese to make it really creamy. Check out this progression…the first photo is right after adding all the pasta to the just-starting-to-boil sauce. The second photo is after cooking the pasta for about 8 minutes – look how dreamy and creamy! The third photo is after adding in the spinach, bacon, and cheese. Yum!
Now, some of you might be worried that the pasta will get mushy if you cook it right in the hot sauce. Don’t be! I promise, as long as you only cook it to al dente before removing it from heat and adding in the spinach, bacon, and cheese, it won’t get mushy at all. If I’m serving this dish right away, I’ll take it closer to the 10 minute mark on top of the stove since it won’t be sitting around in the hot sauce for long. If I’m meal prepping it, I will take it off the heat at around 8 minutes of pasta cook time since I know I’ll be reheating it before eating.
Check out this grocery haul from Wegmans! And no, this isn’t sponsored. It’s no HEB or Central Market, but I still dig it and am pumped to have one so close to where I live 😉 One quick note on the cheese – it will melt more easily and be even creamier if you freshly grate or shave your own cheese. The pre-shredded/shaved stuff is typically coated in potato starch or something else to keep the cheese from clumping up. I still chose the little bag of shaved Parmesan and Fontina for the convenience of it, but you do you boo.
I also don’t have the ground chicken pictured here – if you’re making this as a side dish, I recommend just skipping the chicken. You could add another slice or two of bacon if you want more meat (and bacon flavor!) but the chicken is really meant for when you’re eating this as a meal.
I made this in my big 7 quart enameled cast iron casserole pot, but I transferred it over to my 3.5 quart Le Creuset casserole dish so you could see the pasta more easily in the photos. To get the true one-pot experience and easy cleanup, I recommend making this in a pot that’s at least 5 quarts for making this since you’ll need to stir the pasta frequently. Its just easier to do that in a bigger pot so you’re not spilling any goodies on the stove.
Here are some items I used to make this recipe a success! Note: these are Amazon Affiliate links.
If you’re meal prepping this dish, I recommend the glass meal prep container linked above. If you have enough to freeze some portions, I recommend using the Souper Cubes 2-cup containers for easy freezing and easy freezer storage. You can bake right in the trays, but Souper Cubes also just came out with this cute stoneware to up your serving game after you pull a cube out of the freezer!
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1.1 lb Wegmans Amore Pasta, Riccioli, (500 grams)
- 25 oz Cucina Antica Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 1 shallot, diced, (36 grams)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced, (16 grams)
- 6 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, (12 fl oz)
- 1 cup fat free half and half, (8 fl oz)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, (6 fl oz)
- 4 oz Sartori Cheese Tuscan Reserve Parmesan/Fontina Blend, (113 grams)
- 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Heat a large pot like this over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chopped bacon. Stir the bacon around the pot with a wooden spoon or spatula, cooking until crispy, then remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add garlic, shallot, and sage to the hot bacon grease and sauté for about 1 minute, then add ground chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then break apart with a wooden spoon as the chicken cooks through.
- Once chicken is cooked, add wine, broth, half and half, spices, and pumpkin sauce. Stir to combine, then add the pasta and stir again until combined, trying to cover all pasta completely with sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a boil for about 9-12 minutes. You want the pasta to be very al dente since it will continue to cook in the heat of the sauce. Remove pot from heat, then stir in spinach, bacon, and about 2/3 of the cheese.
- Serve with remaining cheese on top.