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This silky smooth and extra creamy Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka is that cozy bowl of pasta we’re all craving most. Cheese Tortellini tossed in a nutty brown butter pumpkin vodka sauce that’s creamy and so delicious! The pumpkin adds a vibrant layer of flavor and richness to this silky smooth and creamy tortellini. Serve this quick cooking dinner up any night of the week. It’s delicious and looks pretty on any table…and everyone LOVES a GOOD creamy vodka pasta. Such a fun fall twist!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

It’s mid-October, and in my book, the more creamy pasta and pumpkin recipes the better. I’m trying my best to keep a balance. But with the temperature drop and all the snow this week, I’m really just embracing the cozy.

And this cheesy, creamy tortellini is a true reflection of that.

It’s the perfect dinner to cook up when you’re in need of something simple, but totally delicious and comforting too.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

Here are the quick details

I based this recipe off of my traditional vodka sauce, but added in pumpkin and cheesy tortellini.

It’s all really quick to throw together!

Since we’re using pumpkin, I wanted to include a little sage. I just love the flavor blend of sage and pumpkin…with brown butter. So start out by crisping the sage in butter. The butter will brown on the sage leaves and create a really delicious base for your pumpkin vodka sauce.

Next, add the shallots, garlic, oregano, and chili flakes – for a little extra heat. Then stir in the pumpkin and tomato paste and cook until the mix thickens up a bit.

Now stir in the vodka and let everything simmer for a few minutes. Then add the cream and parmesan and let the sauce hang out for a bit.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

What does the vodka actually do?

In a traditional vodka sauce, the vodka adds a sharp bite that helps to balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes. And the same is true with pumpkin. When used in small amounts, the vodka will boost and intensify the aroma of the sauce. The key is to slowly simmer vodka into the sauce. This will release its flavors and cook out the alcohol.

If you prefer to not cook with alcohol, swap the vodka for chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even just water. That will be totally fine and your sauce will still be great.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

While the sauce is slowly cooking, bring some water to a boil for the tortellini. Boil off the tortellini, it should only take a few minutes. I love to use the cheese tortellini from Whole Foods, but Trader Joe’s has really nice options too!

Now toss that tortellini in the sauce. Then serve up bowls of creamy pasta topped with those crispy sage leaves and an extra dusting of parmesan.

An extra special, but super easy, fall dinner. Oh, and I like to serve this up with a big salad on the side – yum!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

Looking for other simple winter pasta dishes? Here are my favorites: 

Sage Butter Pumpkin Cheese Ravioli

One Pot Spicy Pesto Cheese Baked Rigatoni

One-Pan Cheesy Spaghetti Pie

Creamy Bacon Tortellini with Charred Broccoli

Lastly, if you make this Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Vodka Tortellini, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

watch the how-to video:

Brown Butter Pumpkin Alla Vodka Tortellini

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 477 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Watch the How-To Reel



  • 1. In a large skillet, melt together 2 tablespoons butter and the sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is browning and the sage is crisp, 4 minutes. Remove the sage leaves from the butter and set aside.
    2. To the skillet, add the olive oil, shallot, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomato paste, pumpkin, and red pepper flakes, cook 4-5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the vodka, cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
    3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
    4. Add the tortellini to the vodka sauce, tossing to coat. If needed, thin the sauce with pasta cooking water.
    5. Divide the tortellini among plates and top with crispy sage and parmesan. Enjoy!
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Brown Butter Pumpkin Tortellini Alla Vodka |

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  1. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe with us, Tieghan! This tortellini is so decadent, yet so easy to make. I used the chicken broth instead of the vodka and it was great.

    1. Hey McKenna,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Happy Tuesday! 🎄

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this at least three times this fall and keep coming back to it! It’s simple, comforting, and versatile. So far I’ve used Costco’s cheese tortelloni and the pumpkin gnocchi from Trader Joe’s, and am excited to keep experimenting with other pastas. Thanks, Tieghan!

    1. Hey Katelyn,
      Happy Sunday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  3. Shucks I messed up and added the vodka at the wrong time but it was still delicious ! You have a gift for creating delicious and yet accessible recipes and I’m so glad you’re sharing it with the world! Thank you ☺️

    1. Hey Anna,
      Awesome!! 🍂 I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks a bunch for trying it out! xx

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! It felt indulgent and looked fancy for a quick easy weeknight meal. Will definitely make again.

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      Fantastic!! I love that this recipe turned out tasty for you, thanks so much for giving it a try! xx

    1. Hey Karly,
      Totally, that would work well for you! I hope this recipe is delish, please let me know if you give it a try! xT

    1. Hey Steph,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Love the chopped pecans! xx

  5. 5 stars
    Tiegan, first I want to say thank you for the inspiration. I am a pretty experienced home chef, rarely stick to recipes but love to search for new ideas. I love Half Baked Harvest as my go to when I’m in a rut for new ideas. This turned out amazing! I did modifications, but the base was all you. I didn’t have fresh sage but I love crispy basil cooked in brown butter so I substituted basil. I probably added an additional tablespoon or two of butter to the brown butter, used only one large clove of garlic, and didn’t want it hot so only used about a 1/tsp crushed red pepper. I did have an issue with initial bitterness. I think it’s a lot of vodka cooked at too low a heat for too short of a time. I simmered a bit longer and added some brown sugar, doubled the heavy cream and decided at the end that To add 1/2 -3/4 cup of coconut milk. Like other reviewers I also added nutmeg. I served it over fresh chopped baby spinach and topped with some crispy basil and toasted pecans. It was really pretty outstanding. I hope my changes are not offensive to anyone… do inspire me with fresh wonderful ideas. Thank you! I might serve this to my holiday guests one night over thanksgiving weekend. My 21 year old “foody” son gave it a 9/10! Be blessed!

    1. Hey Heidi,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Thanks so much for your kind message and sharing what worked well for you! xx

  6. 5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner. I followed the recipe exactly….DELICIOUS!!! Another winner! So yummy and easy to make.

  7. 3 stars
    This unfortunately also had a bitter taste to it for me – I didn’t burn the sage as some others suggested was the issue. Maybe too much vodka? Or red pepper flakes?

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, sorry to hear it was bitter. Did you allow the alcohol to cook off? I really don’t know what would be giving the bitterness. Please let me know how I can help! xT

  8. 4 stars
    Yummy and will definitely make it again! I think I made the garlic too small as it started to burn before the shallot caramelized so I have a slight bitter aftertaste (totally my fault). Next time I might add the shallot first for a bit. Didn’t have tortellini so used cheese ravioli. As my family says “it’s a keeper” for sure!

    1. Hey Jen,
      Happy Sunday! 🎃 So glad to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a lot for making it and sharing your feedback! xx