Butternut Squash Pasta
This creamy butternut squash pasta recipe is made with roasted butternut squash, half & half and nutmeg and is thick, creamy and easy to make!
I’ve had lots of fun finding creative and delicious ways of using butternut squash. I use it for filling ravioli (see my butternut squash ravioli recipe!); I add butternut squash to my kale for a delicious butternut squash and kale side dish, and I’ve even used it to make butternut squash fettuccini alfredo!
Why This Recipe Works
- Sneak in a vegetable! If your kids are like mine, they love pasta. Kids just love pasta! And plain pasta too. So, in order to find new ways of feeding my kids vegetables, I’ve found this butternut squash pasta recipe is a great way for kids to get the simple pasta they love with the added nutrients mom knows they need.
- Easy to make and simple ingredients. I love that this recipe uses only minimal ingredients! It makes grocery shopping easy.
- Quick 30-minute meal. I’m always looking for delicious and unique 30-minute meals to add to my meal plan! This one is great because it is different than what my kids are used to but similar enough that they’ll eat it! haha 😂
- Great way to use butternut squash. This is a great recipe for using leftover butternut squash, too! If you had oven roasted some squash for dinner last night, just scrape the cooked butternut squash out of the skins and use that in the blender. I’m all for finding ways to reuse and repurpose leftovers in my fridge into a tasty meal!
- Butternut Squash: Peel the butternut squash and cut it into cubes. Roasting the butternut squash is a great way to not only cook the squash so we can puree it, but it brings a nice added oven-roasted flavor to the squash!
- Half & Half: For an even creamier dish, you can use heavy cream. Or if you want it a bit lighter, you can use milk. I’ve made this sauce with half & half and with heavy cream. Personally, you can’t taste a difference with one or the other, so you might as well use half & half since it has far less calories!
- Pasta Water: Be sure to reserve some of the water from cooking the pasta. Depending on if you used milk, half & half or heavy cream you’ll need water to dilute the pasta sauce so it has a saucier consistency.
- Nutmeg: This is the secret ingredient! It makes this pasta so yummy with the delicious nutmeg cream sauce! The hint of nutmeg gives all the delicious fall vibes!
- Parmesan Cheese: Adding the parmesan cheese gives a delicious salty flavor and a nice cheesy element to the dish.
- Roast the butternut squash. Place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and toss to coat. Bake in the oven at 425°F or 25 minutes or until fork tender.
- Cook the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a tablespoon of salt to the pot. Cook the noodles until al dente (al dente means “to the tooth” or until it’s just soft).
- Drain and reserve water. Drain the noodles, reserving 2 cups of pasta water. You may not use all 2 cups depending on how thick your sauce turns out. Return the noodles to the large pot.
- Make the butternut squash pasta sauce. Place the roasted butternut squash in a food processor or blender. Add the heavy cream, ground nutmeg, salt, parmesan, and reserved pasta water to the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Combine. Add the butternut squash pasta sauce to the noodles. Toss to coat the noodles. Season with salt and pepper and then serve immediately!
If you don’t have kosher salt you can use regular grain salt, however, keep in mind you’ll want to reduce the amount of salt you use. Kosher salt is a larger grain than table salt.
If the sauce is still too thick once you combine it with the noodles, just add another splash of reserved pasta water to the pan.
You don’t need freshly grated parmesan. If you have the pre-grated bag of parmesan cheese, that’s fine! However, the Kraft parmesan cheese you shake out of those plastic bottles, that’s not going to bring the same freshness and sharpness of flavor as a fresher parmesan cheese would.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
If making ahead of time, the butternut squash pasta sauce will last up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Store any leftovers the same way.
If freezing, you’ll want to freeze the butternut squash pasta sauce before adding the cream or half & half. This is because dairy can easily separate if frozen and thawed. If you want to make extra sauce to freeze, remove the amount you want to freeze from the blender before adding the half & half. Freeze the puree in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Finish the recipe from where you left off.
Yes. They are similar enough that I think that would be fine. The consistency of the sauce may be a bit thicker since squashes have a higher water content than potatoes, so keep that in mind.
Any winter squash will do. The most common winter squashes are acorn, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti squash. However, I wouldn’t recommend substituting spaghetti squash for butternut squash since it’s a lot more stringy.
While it probably isn’t high on the keto-friendly list, you can eat butternut squash on the keto diet. Keto is a diet that focuses on high-fat and low-carb foods. Since squashes are high carb it isn’t normally eaten for strict keto dieters. Acorn squash is a no for keto since it is higher in carbs; however, butternut squash has about 15 net carbs per cup, lower than acorn, and therefore can be enjoyed occasionally for less strict keto dieters.
Yes! The butternut squash in the pasta sauce gives so much added minerals and nutrients to your meal, including potassium (which helps with high blood pressure), vitamin E and vitamin C.
Butternut Squash Pasta
- 2 heaping cups butternut squash - cut into 1/2" cubes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup half & half - or heavy cream if you want it thicker and creamier
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 1/4 cup reserved pasta water - may need more! So save at least 2 cups worth
- 1 lb noodles of your choice
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top. Toss to coat.
- Place squash in the oven to roast for 25 minutes or until fork tender.
- When the squash is almost done roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling add a tablespoon of salt to the pot. Place the noodles in the boiling water. Cook until al dente.
- Drain. Return the noodles to the large pot. But be sure to reserve at least 2 cups of pasta water. You’ll use this to loosen up the sauce and noodles if it’s too thick. Note: you may not need to use all of the pasta water.
- Remove the squash from the oven and place the butternut squash in a food processor or blender. Add half and half, ground nutmeg, salt, parmesan, and some of the pasta water to the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add the sauce to the noodles. Toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the pan to loose it up. Season with salt & pepper.
This recipe was originally published in October 2019. It was republished on Jan. 11, 2022, to include additional information and photos.