How to Make Butternut Squash Pasta
Smitten with squash?
Wild about walnuts?
Crazy for creamy pasta sauce?
Ever think about combining them all to make an incredible creamy butternut squash pasta recipe?
We have, and let me tell you - it's im-pasta-bly good. (Some may even say it's pre-pasta-rous)
Seriously though, the first time I whipped up this dish at home, the whole family (myself included) were torn between devouring the absurd amount of servings I made all in one meal or leaving some leftover to enjoy the next day.
I'm sure you can guess that it didn't last the night... R.I.Pasta...
At first glance, it could be easy to assume that this recipe would taste something like mac and cheese with a vegetable thrown on top to pretend it's a healthy meal. *unapologetic shrug*
But au contraire; this creamy butternut squash pasta recipe is rich, nutty, satisfying, and dare I say, healthy for the whole family. Even the ferociously carnivorous husbands and chicken nugget devouring young boys will voluntarily lower their forks and steak knives for this flavorful, filling, and fragrant vegetarian main dish.
Sound too good to be true? Would you still believe me if I told you that this is really is pretty easy to make - and reheats like a dream?
Yes, it's real; you've reached the end of your journey to find a healthy, filling, and delicious dinner - and this recipe guide contains everything you need to make it a reality.
Rest, weary internet surfer; this is no mirage. This ultimate butternut squash pasta recipe guide features ingredients, kitchenware, detailed instructions, a printable recipe, and answers to common FAQs.
Plus, there are zero annoying display ads that always spaghett in the way. We're tired of those recipe pages too, and we're being the change we want to see in the world of pasta. Enjoy!
Included in This Recipe
Butternut Squash Pasta Ingredients
When it comes to adding oomph to pasta dishes, have you ever tasted anything as divine as roasted butternut squash?
The way the oven transforms this glorious fall vegetable into a nutty, caramelized delight is simply magical. Roasting the squash cubes reveals an earthy flavor contrast, with a satisfyingly chewy exterior that gives way to tender, creamy flesh within.
It's like a rich, velvety praline with hints of savory umami flavor adding depth and smoky complexity to the dish. One taste and you’ll see, roasted butternut squash is so hearty and addicting you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Forget everything you thought you noodle about bland pumpkin; this sweet, rich, unctuous butternut squash pasta recipe sweeps all your senses off onto a flavorful ride.
The Best Pasta for This Recipe
Let's get real here for a second; the pasta is the star of the show here.
With a rich, creamy sauce like this, you'll want shapes that complement the flavors and texture of the butternut squash sauce that also hold up well during cooking, mixing, and reheating.
With that in mind, cavatappi or penne are both excellent shapes for this creamy roasted butternut squash pasta sauce. The shape and texture of these shapes hold onto the creamy sauce exceptionally well to ensure that every bite is filled with flavor.
Cavatappi and penne have a larger surface area than most short pasta shapes, resulting in more sauce clinging to each piece of pasta. They are also incredibly sturdy shapes that won't soften up or turn to mush when cooked or stirred.
Pots, Pans, and Everything in Between
Here's a quick list of the kitchen essentials you'll need to make this creamy butternut squash pasta recipe.
Large baking sheet pan
Large pot for the pasta
Food processor or blender
You can also use a mortar and pestle
Mug for pasta water
How to Make Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
For the traditionalists among us who prefer a tactile, hands-on experience, whip out your trusty mortar and pestle and get grinding for a deliciously textured sauce.
For the technologically-inclined, plug in your blender or food processor, but be sure to use a light touch as you whiz the walnuts into the cream to retain their robust character.
You'd never imagine such a multi-faceted flavor could emerge by whizzing toasted walnuts, cream, garlic, and parmesan, but give it a blitz and prepare to have your taste buds blown into the stratosphere.
How to Prepare the Butternut Squash
Unfamiliar with how to wrangle a butternut squash? It can be a rodeo, but with the right technique, it's not so bad.
How to peel butternut squash
Carefully cut off the top and bottom of the butternut squash with a sharp knife.
Stand the butternut squash upright on one of the ends you just cut and peel the skin from top to bottom with a vegetable peeler being careful to follow the contour of the squash.
How to cut and seed butternut squash
Lay the butternut squash on its side and carefully cut it in half from top to bottom.
Use a spoon to scoop the seeds out along with any stubborn stringy bits.
To dice the butternut squash, lay both sides with the flat end facing down.
Cut each side separately in the middle where it starts to bulb out.
Take one side and cut lengthwise strips followed by crosswise strips.
Repeat for the other side.
Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Creamy Walnut Pesto
Three Farm Daughters
Sweet, caramelized chunks of bronze-baked butternut squash are always a treat… But when you tumble them over this elegant walnut pesto and scatter over some peppery arugula leaves, you’ve got one of those pasta recipes dreams are made of.
Luscious, satisfying and ever-so-fancy tasting, you’ll wonder how this gorgeous pasta recipe didn’t make it into your repertoire sooner!
1 ½ cups shelled Walnuts, toasted
5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped into 1 in cubes
2 cups Arugula
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
Sea salt and pepper
12 crispy fried sage leaves, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the cubed squash in a single layer on a large baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss until cubes are glistening and evenly coated with oil. Spread out the pieces on the tray with a little space between each - this ensures each cube will caramelize nicely in the oven.
Transfer baking sheet pan to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden brown. For best results, gently turn over cubes after 20 minutes to ensure even browning on all sides.
While the squash is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water, seasoned generously with sea salt or kosher salt, to the boil and prepare the walnut pesto.
To make the creamy pesto, pour the toasted walnuts and minced garlic into a small food processor or blender. Whiz in quick pulses until very finely chopped, being sure to stop before the walnuts are ground into a paste. Alternatively, pound to a fine rubble in a mortar and pestle.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook cavatappi according to package directions until al dente, reserving 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
In a separate frypan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Gently sauté walnut-garlic mixture for 1 minute until fragrant. Pour in the cream and bring to a slow simmer over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened, around 3 minutes. Stir through parmesan and season to taste.
While the sauce and pasta finish cooking, remove the cubed butternut squash from the oven and season to taste.
Finally, return the drained pasta to the pot and pour over the creamy walnut pesto. Stir until combined, adding a few tablespoons of reserved pasta cooking water until a desired consistency and glossy, smooth sauce forms and clings to the pasta surface.
Pour cooked pasta into a serving dish and top with the golden cubed butternut squash. Scatter handfuls of arugula over the top, [and crispy sage leaves if desired] sprinkle on some more freshly grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
- For a herbacious and crunchy twist, top the finished pasta dish with crispy fried sage leaves in brown butter. To make them, frizzle 12 fresh sage leaves with 1 tablespoon of butter in a fry pan for 1 minute until fragrant. Transfer the fried sage leaves onto a paper towel lined plate. They will crisp us as they cool.
- You can amp up the savory and umami flavors by topping the finished pasta dish with crispy bacon or prosciutto. For the best results, be sure to drain the cooked bacon on paper towels before crumbling over this dish for a contrasting crispy texture.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it hot.
- Optional: A few ideas to make this recipe your own; feel free to throw some roasted brussels sprouts, goat cheese, or toasted pecans on this dish to customize it. All of these additions perfectly complement the roasted squash, and more cheese in the form of freshly grated parmesan cheese is always on the table.
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