31 Best Fall Pasta Recipes from Kale Pesto to Butternut Squash Penne

Weeknight Cooking

Our 31 Coziest Fall Pasta Recipes

The pasta equivalents of your softest scarf: comforting, warm, and always welcome.

November  3, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

The moment fall is declared, I immediately begin to crave pasta—and only pasta—for every meal. There's something about the holy union of carbohydrates, creamy sauces, and earthy autumnal vegetables (hey squash, hello mushrooms, good to see you cauliflower) interspersed with zingy cheese and sausage and subtle threads of nutmeg that make autumn the ideal season for pasta consumption.

Fall pasta dishes are just cozy, which I know is a much-overused term, but if the word cozy were ever to be manifested as a pasta, it would for sure be a cool-weather one, full of bubbly cheeses and vegetables and a few woody herbs. Possibly a brassica or two. No matter what they contain, fall pasta dishes must be warm, they must be hearty, and, above all, they must be deeply satisfying.

Here are 31 of our best fall pasta recipes that check all of those boxes.


31 Best Fall Pasta Recipes

1. Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese & Sage Pasta Pile-Up

We love an herby, cheesy pasta pileup—especially when a few classic fall flavors, like sweet potato and sage, come into the mix.

2. Pasta with Nduja & Bitter Greens

Nduja—a spreadable fermented sausage with a nice hit of spice—takes center stage in this bitter green pasta that doesn't need much in the way of ingredients (since the nduja brings a bunch of flavor all on its own).

3. Creamy Mushroom Pasta

This extra-easy mushroom pasta checks all the boxes for creaminess, coziness, and speed, making it perfect for any night of the week.

4. Mushroom Stuffed Giant Shell Pasta

More ways to eat mushrooms with pasta? Right this way, please. This one's nice and zippy, thanks to garlic, chile, fresh parsley, and lemon juice.

5. Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs, Pancetta & Pepitas

Bread crumbs and pepitas team up here for a one-two punch of crunchy goodness, while the pancetta brings a nice hit of fatty-smoky flavor.

6. Jen’s “Improved” Chicken Liver Ragu

If you've never cooked with chicken livers before, consider this hearty ragu a very tasty reason to introduce it to your kitchen (you won't be sorry!). The recipe makes a surplus of sauce, which freezes beautifully for next week's (or month's) dinner.

7. Kale & Italian Sausage Lasagna with Pumpkin Béchamel

No tomato sauce needed here—this lasagna calls on a luscious béchamel sauce thickened with pumpkin puree (so fall!) for ultimate comfort.

8. Spätzle with Sage Butter, Parmesan & Toasted Hazelnuts

Made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk, spätzle is a German pasta that's kind of like a cross between a dumpling and noodle. Here, it's bathed in an earthy sage butter and topped with toasty hazelnuts and parmesan, aka pasta heaven.

9. Baked Penne with Butternut-Sage Sauce

This won't be the last pasta on this list with butternut squash (or sage, for that matter), and that's because it's just too darn good with a bit of cream and grated cheese.

10. Orecchiette with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale & Caramelized Red Onion

Hello, butternut squash! We couldn't be happier to see you again, this time with a few new pals—hey there, orecchiette, red onion, and goat cheese.

11. Kale Pesto Orecchiette

Kale steps in for basil in this riff on pesto that delivers a bit more zing than the traditional version—thanks to the addition of crushed red pepper flakes, Dijon, and white vinegar.

12. Braised Onion Sauce

This beloved braised onion sauce takes hours (yes, seriously) to finish, but the time spent is oh-so worth it. You'll know what we're talking about when you taste that ethereal sauce—in its jammy, syrupy, buttery wonder—for yourself.

13. Pasta & Bean Soup with Kale, Revisited

A soul-warming soup for those especially brisk fall days, when you can start to feel that winter is just around the corner.

14. Baked Ricotta Gnudi with Vodka Sauce

We love just about anything covered in a thick blanket of bubbly-melty mozzarella cheese, but this baked gnudi (which feel extra light and fluff thanks to ricotta) doused in a rich vodka sauce is one of our favorites.

15. Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin & Pancetta

This dreamy pasta al forno from our co-founder Merrill Stubbs is one of our most treasured fall recipes. One reviewer wrote, "This is truly outstanding," and even shared a hot tip: "I used pumpkin for the pureed part and butternut squash for the chunks and it was delicious."

16. Al Forno's Penne With Tomato, Cream & 5 Cheeses

Another way to al forno, because well, why the heck not? This one's perfect for the last week or two of September when it's time to officially say farewell to summer.

17. Mezzi Rigatoni with Broccoli Pesto & Smoked Mozzarella

Since this rigatoni bake has a pretty short ingredients list, each one feels especially important. You could use plain mozzarella here, but the smoked variety gives the whole dish an extra layer of complexity (and feels nice and cozy for fall).

18. Pasta with Slow-Cooked Cauliflower, Anchovies & Garlic

If you want to take a break from heavy cream–filled pastas, this umami-packed number (thanks, anchovies) is a great option. Plus, it's still pretty creamy from the slow-cooked cauliflower.

19. Bucatini Pasta with Pork Ragu

This bucatini with slow-simmered pork ragu just might be the best thing you eat this fall—or year. It did take home the title for our The Best Thing You Ate This Year recipe contest, after all.

20. Pepper-Crusted Filets with Ricotta Gnocchi, Shiitakes & Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

With tender filet mignon and homemade ricotta gnocchi, this pasta is perfect for a special-occasion meal.

21. Buckwheat Pasta with Charred Cabbage, Speck & Provolone

One tip to keep in mind when making this buckwheat pasta, from recipe developer Josh Cohen: "Buy the good provolone. Don’t buy the pre-sliced stuff. Get the aged, sharp provolone, and tell your local retailer not to slice it thin on the deli slicer." It'll make a world of difference.

22. Pasta with Brown Butter & Brussels Sprouts

Who could say no to Brussels sprouts when they're dressed up in brown butter, lemon zest, black sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes? Not even the pickiest eater could turn up their nose at this pasta.

23. Fall Mac & Cheese With Butternut Squash & Bacon

An autumnal riff on Martha Stewart's classic recipe, this mac and cheese proves once and for all that butternut squash and bacon really are a match made in heaven.

24. Creamy Sausage Pasta With Cabbage

This autumn-ready pasta is a mix between a beloved Marcella Hazan recipe, a stovetop mac and cheese, and a baked pasta—how could it not be good?

25. Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

Ok, so beef bourguignon isn't technically a pasta dish, but you can't deny its deliciousness when served over a tangle of hot buttered egg noodles.

26. Miso-Eggplant Spaghetti

White miso adds a lovely "savory depth" to this eggplant pasta, writes our Table for One columnist Eric Kim—even more so when you caramelize it with mirin, brown sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes on the stovetop first.

27. Fall Weeknight Pasta

Good evening to this bonkers-simple butternut, kale, and guanciale number, which couldn’t be more weeknight-friendly. Essentially, everyone snuggles on a sheet pan in the oven (while you pour a wine and boil pasta). Stir it altogether—with lots of pecorino, of course—for the quickest cozy recipe around. Eat it straight out of the pot!

28. One-Pot Penne With Sausage, Pumpkin & Fennel

Ah, the ingenuity of one-pot pasta! Not to mention, the flavor—this pasta’s cooked in chicken broth and white wine (you're welcome, we aim to please). You can make it with anything, really—pureed squash or tomato, sliced celery, merguez sausage, or even a vegan meat if you’d like—but nothing screams “fall” like a pot bubbling with pumpkin puree, fennel, and spicy Italian sausage.

29. Pasta With Creamy Crushed Walnut Sauce From Heidi Swanson

When life catches you by surprise (read: you glance at the clock, see it’s 9pm and realize you haven’t thought about feeding yourself), make this pasta. It takes just ten minutes and is 100 percent made with pantry- and fridge-staples—plus, you can really use any nuts you have on hand, and maybe toss in some greens you have hanging around for color and nutrients. It’s quick, but his walnut pasta sauce is as cozy as any long-simmered sauce, like a wool sweater for your stomach.

30. Gnocchi Ripieni with Mushrooms, Parmesan & Thyme

Mushroom and ricotta gnocchi pan-fried in butter? Uh, yes please. Though it’s more work than boiling dry pasta, gnocchi ripieni (that’s gnocchi stuffed with ingredients like cooked vegetables, meat, and cheese) is well-worth the effort. If you’re not a mushroom fan, try something else: the author of this recipe recommends roasted salmon, or keeping it simple with mozzarella, taleggio or gorgonzola.

31. Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

While guanciale or pancetta are the more traditional meat found in carbonara, smoky bacon makes the Brussels sprouts in this recipe shine. However, if you only have other autumnal vegetables on hand, say, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, or kale, those would all work just as well in this meal. Choose your own fall vegetable carbonara adventure!


How do you fall pasta? Add some pureed pumpkin into your macaroni and cheese? Put a few sage leaves into your buttered noodles? Inspire us!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Linda
    Linda
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    SallyHuebscher
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    Pete Mack
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    NuMystic
A kitchen scientist and dog-lover. Someday I want to have you over for dinner.

6 Comments

Linda September 29, 2020
My favorite fall pasta is butternut squash ravioli with browned butter sage sauce, toasted walnuts and a handful of dried orange cranberries...hmmmm, so good.
 
SallyHuebscher September 27, 2020
risotto, homemade pasta, fall stews need the perfect bowl. If you have good choices I'd like something well priced so I can buy 2 dozen.
 
Pete M. September 14, 2020
The winter squash with kale and goat cheese pasta is indeed delicious.
Had to sub beet greens for kale, and added a smoked Italian sausage that needed to be used. (I make them every couple weeks, and it was time to smoke the next batch.*) Bacon would work, too.

* Beware: most brands do not work--the casing gets too tough and dry. In upstate NY, Giannelli makes sausages that smoke well.
 
Rebecca October 25, 2017
Oh, how I miss pasta! Are there any other dairy-free, gluten-free peeps that have a recipe - that works - for a pasta feast? Homemade? Comfort style?
 
NuMystic September 27, 2020
Gluten free pastas have improved dramatically in recent years. Just substitute your gf pasta of choice with the dairy free recipes on this list like the Miso-Eggplant, or nearly vegan ones like the Kale Pesto, subbing vegan parm or nutritional yeast for Parmesan, oil for butter, etc.
 
Linda September 29, 2020
I have found that Barilla GF pasta is very good...almost can't tell the difference. A friend is gluten intolerant so I bought it for her and have continued to buy it just for us, since it's so good.