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Zwilling, who I’m thrilled to partner with throughout 2021! Zwilling’s brand new Pro Le Blanc Knives are my favorite addition to my kitchen this year. They have super strong German-made blades & gorgeous matte white handles that match my light + bright kitchen beautifully! All thoughts & opinions are my own.
Butternut Squash and Pasta – the Makings of the Perfect Cozy Fall Dinner!
Today we’re embracing the harvest season with a big, cozy hug in the form of the most comforting bowl of carbs imaginable – autumn is here, & so is Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon. There are so many things to love about this fall pasta recipe, it’s hard to know where to begin to talk about it!
The star of the recipe is a creamy butternut squash pasta sauce made with butternut, shallot, garlic, & loads of hardy fresh herbs. The veggies roast on a sheet pan, developing intensely caramelized, toasty flavor. & to take that rich flavor to a whole other level, center cut bacon is draped over the veggies, which renders its richness down onto the veggies, infusing them with irresistible flavor. From there, the roasted veggies are blitzed up into a smooth & creamy sauce perfect for tossing into a pile of piping hot pasta.
Best of all, though? It’s a scratch-made comfort food meal but this butternut squash pasta is so insanely easy to throw together. It’s effectively an easy sheet pan dinner that comes together in with less than 30 minutes of active work. Aside from boiling a pot of pasta, the oven does all of the work!
This butternut squash pasta is the epitome of a lazy girl recipe – you know how much I love those! – low in effort, deliciously high in reward. I am certain that you’re going to be obsessed! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
First Thing’s First – How to Cut Butternut Squash
If you’ve never broken one down before, now’s the perfect opportunity to learn how to cut a butternut squash. This may seem intimidating at first, given its hefty size & oblong shape, but it’s truly so simple! & the really nice thing about cutting butternut squash on your own (vs buying those convenient bags of pre-cubed squash from the store)? It’s cost-effective, reduces waste, & typically yields enough squash for a couple of different recipes.
How to Cut Butternut Squash
- Peel the squash: Use a Y-peeler to peel the entire squash. While a butternut squash’s skin is thick & tough, a Y-peeler makes this an incredibly quick & simple job. As opposed to a straight/swivel peeler, a Y-peeler’s wide handle is situated under the blade, which makes peeling especially efficient & comfortable. If you don’t have a Y-peeler in your kitchen, now’s the time to get one!
- Cut the squash in half: Trim the ends off the squash & carefully halve the squash lengthwise. I like to do this by setting the squash on its large, flat bottom side (where the seeds are) & carefully slicing down through the center of the squash. If this motion feels awkward or uncomfortable, you can also cut the squash in half crosswise first, where the rounded portion meets the oblong portion, then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds: Use a large spoon to remove the seeds from the squash. Discard them, or set them aside to roast up as a quick fall snack!
- Slice & dice the butternut squash: Cut the oblong section of the squash into planks, then dice into cubes. Cut the round end into slices, then dice.
Reminder! ⇢ The Most Important Tool in Your Kitchen is a Sharp Knife!
Sharp knives are, hands down, the most important tools in your kitchen. Especially as we dive into fall & winter cooking, using hardy ingredients like squash, root veggies, & big roasts, there’s no better time to invest in good knives.
I cannot recommend the Pro Le Blanc Knives, brand new from Zwilling, more highly. With the same super strong German-made blades we know & love from Zwilling Pro cutlery, the Le Blanc knives boast gorgeous matte white handles. They’re my favorite addition to my kitchen so far this year!
Meal Prep Tip!
Most of the active prep work involved in this creamy butternut squash pasta recipe comes from breaking down the squash. Rather than saving it for dinnertime, prep your squash in advance. It takes 10 minutes tops & you can jump straight into cooking during the week!
Diced butternut squash will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container – I absolutely love my Zwilling Fresh & Save vacuum seal storage containers!
How to Make Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
The kinda fun thing about this creamy butternut squash pasta sauce is the fact that it’s basically a sheet pan recipe! A sheet pan might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of homemade pasta sauce, but roasting the butternut squash with aromatics like shallot, garlic, & fresh herbs creates deep caramelization, resulting in a butternut squash pasta sauce that is especially rich in flavor. (Plus, it’s totally hands off – what’s not to love about that?!)
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Assemble the sheet pan: Place the cubed butternut squash on a large sheet pan with shallots, whole garlic cloves, & a handful of finely chopped hardy fresh herbs. Drizzle with oil & toss to combine. Roasted butternut squash tip! ⇢ Use a large sheet pan to avoid overcrowding. This gives the veggies plenty of room to roast, allowing the warm air in the oven to circulate around the veggies & resulting in richer, deeper flavor.
- Drape with bacon & roast: Drape a few slices of center-cut bacon over the butternut squash & shallots. Transfer to the oven & roast until the bacon is rendered & the squash is fork-tender. Why? ⇢ With the bacon placed atop the veggies, its fat renders down onto them as it roasts. This infuses the roasted butternut squash & aromatics with rich, smoky flavor – it’s absolutely to die for!
- Blend the roasted butternut squash pasta sauce: Set the bacon aside for garnishing your creamy butternut squash pasta, then transfer the roasted butternut squash, shallot, & garlic to the jar of a high-speed blender. Blend with some vegetable stock, grated parmesan, & a splash of heavy cream as desired, until it’s totally smooth & creamy.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce – A Winter Freezer Staple!
The creamy butternut squash pasta sauce is incredibly freezer friendly! Simply transfer the cooled squash pasta to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions. It will keep in the freezer up to 3 months – perfect for an easy, cozy dinner down the road! Check the Recipe Notes, below, for full freezing & thawing instructions.
Bringing it all Together – Tossing Butternut Squash Pasta.
The #1 mistake I see home chefs make when they serve a pasta dish is simply plopping their prepared sauce atop a pile of pasta – please don’t do this! Al dente pasta should always cook with sauce for couple of minutes on the stovetop, allowing the two separate components to come together into one cohesive dish. That’s exactly how we’re going to create a killer creamy pasta dish using our homemade butternut squash pasta sauce.
How to make Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta:
- Boil pasta: As the squash roasts, cook your pasta of choice in generously salted water, just until the pasta reaches al dente. Before draining the pasta, carefully dip a liquid measuring cup into the pot to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. Drain the pasta, but do NOT rinse it. Why? ⇢ Rinsing washes the starchy goodness off the surface of the pasta, preventing it from absorbing & clinging to the roasted butternut squash pasta sauce.
- Toss, toss, toss!: Add the cooked pasta to the same pot used to boil the pasta. Pour the prepared butternut squash sauce overtop, then toss to combine well. Adjust as needed so the butternut squash pasta sauce evenly coats the pasta. If the mixture is too thick, toss in a little of the reserved pasta water to thin it out; if the mixture is too loose, toss in an extra handful of parmesan cheese to thicken it up. Cook for a couple minutes more, allowing the pasta to meld with & absorb some of the sauce.
Butternut Squash Pasta FAQ ⇢ What’s the best pasta to use? Creamy sauces like this roasted butternut squash pasta sauce pair with a wide variety of different pastas. Personally, I like pairing it with long pasta, like linguine or fettuccine (pictured) – you can even try your hand at making homemade pasta! You can also choose any pasta with lots of crevices or twirls, as the sauce gets trapped in every nook & cranny, making for really creamy, flavorful bites. Short pasta such as cavatappi, casarecce, gemelli, or orecchiette are all great choices too!
Butternut Squash Pasta Serving Ideas:
Once the butternut squash sauce is tossed into the pasta, it’s time to feast! Portion the pasta into your favorite pasta bowls & finish with your toppings of choice – I like a sprinkling of finely chopped bacon, freshly cracked pepper, & grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Some other ideas for serving your butternut squash pasta include…
- Crispy fried sage – The garnish of the season! Simply heat a little oil in a small skillet & fry sage leaves whole until they’re fragrant & crisp.
- Toasted nuts – For hearty, satisfying texture, walnuts, pine nuts, & hazelnuts are all amazing add-ons for this creamy butternut squash pasta. Simply add finely chopped nuts to a small skillet over low heat. Cook, tossing frequently, until fragrant & golden.
- Toasted breadcrumbs – For amazing crisp texture! Heat a little oil in a small skillet, then add in a handful of panko breadcrumbs & a little finely chopped garlic. Cook, tossing frequently, until fragrant & golden.
- Roasted butternut squash – To double down on the flavor of the butternut squash, reserve some of your roasted butternut squash & fold it into your pasta. The ultimate butternut squash and pasta dish!
I can’t wait for you to try this Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta recipe! It’s the perfect fall meal, & I know you’re going to love it as much as we do! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!
Love Fall Flavors?! Um…same here! 🙌🏼 Be sure to try my Creamy Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Brown Butter Sage Breadcrumbs, Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage & Harvest Veggies, or Hearty Pumpkin Chili next. ♡ Happy cooking!Print
This Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon is the ultimate cozy & comforting fall dinner! Butternut squash roasts with shallot, garlic, fresh herbs, & bacon, which renders into the vegetables & provides irresistible rich flavor. Create an easy homemade butternut squash pasta sauce by blending the roasted veggies smooth with parmesan, & toss it into your favorite pasta.
- 16 ounces dried pasta of choice
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, & diced into ½-inch cubes (roughly 4 cups cubed)
- 2 large shallots, peeled & halved lengthwise
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped hardy fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
- 6 slices bacon
- 1–2 cups vegetable stock or broth
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- optional: 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the top third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper as desired for easy clean up. Break down the butternut squash: use a Y-peeler to peel the squash, trim the ends off & slice the squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds & discard. Dice the squash into ½-inch cubes.
- Roast the squash & aromatics: Place the cubed butternut squash, shallots, & garlic on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil & season with the chopped fresh herbs, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, & ground black pepper as desired. Drape bacon over the seasoned veggies. Place in the oven & roast 30-35 minutes, until the bacon is rendered & the squash is very tender – you should be able to easily smash it with a fork. Remove from the oven. Transfer the bacon to a cutting board & chop fine. Carefully peel the roasted garlic. Set aside.
- Boil the pasta: Meanwhile, as the squash roasts, boil the pasta. I suggest beginning to boil generously salted water after you first put the squash in the oven to roast. About 10 minutes before the squash is ready to pull from the oven, drop the pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once cooked, carefully dip a liquid measuring cup into the pot to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water, and set aside. Carefully drain the pasta & return to the pot.
- Blend the creamy butternut squash pasta sauce: Transfer the roasted butternut squash, shallot, & garlic to the jar of a high-speed blender. Add in 1 cup of the vegetable stock, grated parmesan, & heavy cream (if using). Blend until the sauce is smooth & creamy, about 30-45 seconds. If the mixture is too thick, simply drizzle in a little extra vegetable stock or reserved pasta water. Taste and season with additional salt or ground black pepper as needed.
- Toss the pasta: Pour the butternut squash pasta sauce over the cooked pasta, tossing to combine. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, allowing everything to meld together. Adjust as needed so the butternut squash pasta sauce evenly coats the pasta – if the mixture is too thick, toss in a little of the reserved pasta water; if the mixture is too loose, toss in an extra handful of parmesan cheese, etc.
- Serve immediately, topped with chopped bacon, crispy sage leaves, or additional grated parmesan, as desired. Enjoy!
- Storage & Freezing:
- Butternut Squash Pasta Storage & Reheating: Leftover creamy butternut squash pasta will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
- Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce Freezer Instructions: The creamy butternut squash pasta sauce is also very freezer friendly. To freeze, transfer cooled butternut squash pasta sauce to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions & freeze up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen butternut squash pasta sauce in the refrigerator overnight or submerge the freezer container in room temperature water for a quicker thaw. Easily reheat on the stovetop. The sauce may be a little watery from freezing, simply simmer excess water off. Once simmering, finish according to Steps 3, 5-6 of Recipe Directions, above.
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all the active prep work for this creamy butternut squash pasta comes from prepping the veggies. Take care of this in advance – it takes 10 minutes, tops – & you can jump straight in to cooking during the week:
- Peel, deseed & dice 1 small butternut squash into ½-inch cubes. Peel & halve 2 shallots. Transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active)
Keywords: butternut squash pasta, creamy, butternut squash pasta sauce, pasta recipes, comfort food recipes, weeknight dinner, fall, winter
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.