Butternut Squash Pasta
This creamy butternut squash pasta recipe uses simple and basic ingredients: roasted butternut squash, nutmeg, cream, pasta water, and salt and pepper. These basic ingredients combined together create the perfect pasta dish for fall.
How to Use Butternut Squash
I know I’ve mentioned how I grew up eating a lot of vegetables. My father had a large garden growing up and we had so much produce! My mom got really good at canning, juicing, jamming, etc. I remember lots of butternut squash. My dad would usually just cut the squash, season it and pop it in the oven. I didn’t know there was an entire world out there of possibilities for butternut squash!
I’ve had lots of fun finding new 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 — huge game changers.
My Go-To Kid-Friendly Pasta Recipes
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.
Other simple, kid-friendly pasta recipes you can find on my site include:
- Lemon Pasta Recipe — This simple lemon sauce will add flavor and much-needed vitamin C and fiber!
- Pesto pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta — My kids love this pasta recipe because it is creamy, and doesn’t have a lot of extra stuff. The added zucchini makes sure your kids are getting a food high in antioxidants, aids digestion and reduces blood sugar levels.
- Kale Pesto Pasta — Kale is just a difficult vegetable to get my kids to eat. But using it in homemade pesto and adding that to pasta has been a great way for them to enjoy pasta while getting an amazing superfood in their diet! According to Healthline, “Kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.” If I can get my kids to eat kale in this kale pesto pasta? Yep, I’m way on board.
Ingredients to Make Butternut Squash Pasta
If you have a butternut squash, I can guarantee you’ll have the remaining ingredients needed to make this sauce.
- Butternut squash – cut the squash into 1/2″ cubes. You’ll need 2 heaping cups, which turned out to be about 1/2 of a squash (for me).
- Olive oil – drizzled over the squash prior to roasting it in the oven.
- Heavy cream
- Ground nutmeg – you can also use fresh nutmeg if you have it. I love to grate fresh nutmeg over each individual pasta serving.
- Kosher salt – 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.
- Freshly grated parmesan
- Reserved pasta water – when you drain the noodles you’ll want to reserve about 2 cups of pasta water.
- Noodles of your choice.
How to make Butternut Squash Pasta
- Place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and toss to coat.
- Roast the squash in a 425°F oven for 25 minutes or until fork tender.
- Remove from the oven and place the roasted butternut squash in a food processor or blender. Add heavy cream, ground nutmeg, salt, parmesan, and reserved pasta water to the blender. Blend until smooth. This is the butternut squash pasta sauce we just made from scratch — easy as that!
- 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, but be sure to reserve 2 cups of pasta water. You’ll use this to loosen up the sauce and noodles if it’s too thick. Keep in mind, you may not use all of the pasta water, but it’s better to reserve too much water than not enough!
- Return the noodles to the large pot. Add the butternut squash pasta sauce to the noodles. Toss to coat the noodles.
Tip: If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of reserved pasta water to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and then serve immediately!
- If you want to make this recipe a bit healthier, you can replace the heavy cream with half and half.
- This is a great recipe for using leftover butternut squash as well! 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!
- 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.
Can you swap sweet potato for butternut squash? — 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.
What can I use instead of butternut squash? — 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.
Is butternut squash keto? — 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.
Is butternut squash pasta healthy? — Yes! The butternut squash in the pasta sauce gives so much added minerals and nutrients to your meal.
More Pasta Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Other pasta favorites of mine include:
- Shrimp Scampi
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Deconstructed Pizza Pasta — This is also a great kid-friendly pasta! My kids love pizza, and this is a fun adaptation of that.
- Sesame Noodles — Asian flavors can sometimes be hit-and-miss with kids, but my kids love this sesame noodles recipe!
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe
Butternut Squash Pasta
- 2 heaping cups butternut squash - cut into 1/2" cubes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 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 heavy cream, 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 first published in October 2019, the recipe has been updated to be easier to make and vegetarian appropriate.