Nothing satisfies a comfort food craving like a big plate of creamy pasta. But as delicious as they are, most creamy pasta recipes are high-fat indulgences.
Wouldn't it be great if you could enjoy delicious creamy pasta without that side of guilt? You can.
Butternut squash pasta sauce offers all the sinful creaminess with none of the sin. That's because it's low in fat and calories and high in nutrients and flavor.
With only a few ingredients and a little technical know-how, you can have all the comfort of delicious creamy pasta without the guilt. Here's how.
- Preparing Butternut Squash
- Creamy Pasta Ingredients
- Creamy Pasta Directions
- Butternut Squash Pasta Variations
- Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings
Preparing Butternut Squash
The thick skin and unique shape of butternut squash can be intimidating. So, there are a few basic techniques you need to know to make peeling and chopping this delicious squash easier.
You'll need a large, sharp knife. A chef's knife or heavy bread knife will work. You'll also need a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
First, lay the squash on its side and cut off the stem. Then cut the squash in two by slicing it at the base of the neck. You will be left with a longish, slim portion and a round, bulbous portion.
Next, peel each piece using a sturdy vegetable peeler or paring knife. Beneath the light yellow outer layer of the skin is a light green layer and a white layer. Be sure to remove all layers until you are left with bright orange flesh.
Once peeled, cut the neck into disks, about 3/4" thick. Cut each disk into 3/4" wide strips. Then chop each strip into cubes.
Cut the peeled squash base in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Lay each half flat-side down and cut into 3/4" slices. Cut each piece into cubes.
Creamy Pasta Ingredients
As with all pasta recipes, the quality of the ingredients can make a substantial difference in the quality of the prepared dish. This creamy pasta with butternut squash has only a few ingredients, so you'll want to use the best you can get, like Dagostino's handmade pasta.
- 1 lb Dagostino fettuccini or other long pasta
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 butternut squash (2-3lbs) or 1lb pre-cut fresh or frozen squash
- 1/4 cup white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (or more) chicken stock (use vegetable stock, if preferred)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1-2 teaspoons premium extra virgin olive oil (like Dagostino extra virgin olive oil)
Creamy Pasta Directions
There are two ways to cook butternut squash for creamy pasta sauce. You can roast it or saute and steam it. Both methods use the same ingredients and make delicious creamy pasta.
Cooking Pasta Perfectly
Always follow package directions when cooking pasta. If you don't have the directions, here's the basic method:
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Add fettuccini, making sure it's fully submerged. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Avoid overcooking it. Pasta gets pasty when it's overcooked.
Remove one cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the fettuccini and keep warm.
Option 1: Roasted Butternut Squash Sauce
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Spread butternut squash cubes, diced onion, and garlic cloves (unpeeled) on a rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Toss until everything is evenly coated. Spread into one layer.
Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Turn with a metal spatula. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Roast for another 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender (softer is better) and just beginning to caramelize, and onions and garlic cloves have darkened.
Remove from oven. Transfer roasted butternut squash and onions to a blender or food processor (or saucepan if using an immersion blender). Squeeze roasted garlic from skins and add to squash and onions.
Add chicken stock and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth and creamy. (Be sure to allow steam to escape from the blender or food processor.) You may need to scrape the sides to ensure all squash is pureed.
If the sauce is very thick, add pasta water or additional stock (one to two tablespoons at a time) and pulse until smooth.
Option 2: Stovetop Butternut Squash Sauce
Peel and mince garlic (or put through a press).
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. It's okay if they darken slightly.
Add squash cubes and saute until edges begin to brown. Stir in minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and cook for one minute more.
Add nutmeg and chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits. When the stock begins to bubble, cover the pan and reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer until the cubes of butternut squash are fork-tender (about eight to 12 minutes). Overcooked squash will work better than undercooked. Stir in parmesan cheese.
Carefully transfer squash mixture to a blender or food processor, or grab your immersion blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy while allowing steam to escape. Scrape the sides of your pan, blender, or food processor if necessary to ensure all your squash is thoroughly pureed.
If your sauce is too thick, add pasta water or additional stock (one to two tablespoons at a time) and pulse until it's just right.
Finishing Your Creamy Pasta
Toss your warm fettuccini with your hot butternut squash sauce until it's evenly coated.
Plate the creamy pasta on individual dinner plates or a large serving platter and lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Top with additional parmesan cheese and a pinch of crushed red pepper (optional).
Other delicious topping options include crumbled bacon, toasted pine nuts or pepitas, caramelized onions, chopped fresh parsley, a drizzle of hot sauce, cooked shrimp, or chicken.
Butternut Squash Pasta Variations
There are lots of ways to use this delicious creamy pasta sauce. Try layering it into lasagna. Use it in place of the red sauce in your favorite recipe, or try ours.
Add four slices of bacon or pancetta to the roasting pan halfway through baking. Reserve one slice for crumbling, puree the other three with the squash. Toss pasta in the sauce and top it with crumbled bacon.
For a zesty, creamy sauce, roast 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes with the squash, and add a couple of leaves of fresh basil before blending.
Substitute cheddar cheese for the parmesan and use a short pasta like our small shells or one of our fun pasta shapes for butternut squash "mac" and cheese.
Satisfy Your Comfort Food Cravings
As the weather gets cooler, our appetites turn to comfort food. Squash and pasta recipes really satisfy, especially creamy pasta with butternut squash!
If you want to make the best creamy butternut squash sauce, it's essential to select a ripe squash with no blemishes. The better your ingredients, the better your pasta will be.
That's why you should start with our handmade fettuccini and premium extra virgin olive oil to make this recipe truly delectable. Create the pasta dish you crave with our premium Italian products!