Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

Fall Recipes, Healthy Eating, Italian, Main Dish, Vegetarian | 23 comments

I’ve mentioned before that as a child and teenager I never really liked squash. As an adult, I am finding more and more recipes that I truly enjoy squash in. In part due to maturing taste buds, but also due to the recipes themselves. This recipe for Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce from Elise at Simply Recipes is another such recipe.

This is a fabulous pasta recipe to have in your repertoire. It is as fast and simple to prepare as a basic marinara (aside from roasting and pureeing the squash – which can easily be done ahead of time and frozen). This dish is so creamy and has a wonderful medley of complimentary flavors. What a way to bring color and excitement to the winter dinner table!

I’ve made Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce twice now, once for my MOMS Club Christmas Party, where it was a huge hit. And on another occasion for dinner at home. From the description Eric didn’t think he would like it, but I proved him wrong.

I substituted half and half for the heavy cream the second time I made this and you don’t even notice the missing fat or calories. This dish tastes filling and rich without actually being laden with calories and excessive fat.

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce
slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1 butternut squash weighing about 2- 2 1/2 pounds
  • 8 ounces of penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage, or according to your personal tastes
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water or broth as needed to thin the sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise in half and scoop out the guts and seeds and discard them. Pour 1/4 cup of water into a pyrex or ceramic baking dish and place the butternut squash halves cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the squash. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skins and purée with a or food processor. Discard the skins.

Fill a pot with water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Set over high heat to bring to a hard boil. Add the pasta and cook at a hard boil, uncovered until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a wide skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash purée and cook for about a minute, mixing it in with the shallots. Add the cream, a tablespoon at a time, slowly stirring it in to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the nutmeg, sage, salt and pepper. Add water (or broth) to thin to the consistency you want. Take off heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Cover the pan to keep warm.

Check pasta. When ready (al dente) drain and plate. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with a little extra parsley and Parmesan. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Jessica - January 27, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

    This looks and sounds absolutely deliious. I have a few butternut stragglers still hanging around!


  • 2
    carolyn - January 27, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

    I was really excited to come across this recipe! We've been looking for some unique pasta dishes for weeknight meals. This looks like it deserves a spot in the rotation!


  • 3
    Jason Sandeman - January 27, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

    Oh, now you went and raised the bar! I LOVE the use of butternut squash in this dish!


  • 4
    sarah @ syrupandhoney - January 27, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    looks sooo yummy. next time, fry those sage leaves if you want an even better garnish!


  • 5
    Amy @ Cheerful Cookery - January 27, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

    Mmm… I love butternut squash. I bet the sauce would be great as a layer in a veggie lasagna!


  • 6
    oneordinaryday - January 27, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

    Sounds wonderful!


  • 7
    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} - January 28, 2010 @ 12:55 am

    Oh this pasta sounds so awesome. I am a fan of Butternut squash so I would dig this recipe. We are in CO skiing right now, this would be so yummy to come home to at the end of the ski day!


  • 8
    Maria - January 28, 2010 @ 2:15 am

    I have a butternut squash sitting on the counter. I will have to try this!


  • 9
    Sandie {Inn Cuisine} - January 28, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    The older I get, the more I experiment with squashes too. I love them, especially in baked good and sauces such as this! Just lovely…


  • 10
    Tasty Eats At Home - January 28, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

    Yum yum! I love butternut. This sounds so lovely.


  • 11
    The Double Dipped Life - January 28, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

    This looks like a great way to sneak vegetables into the kids tummy!


  • 12
    Amy - January 28, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    That looks absolutely, delicious, Katie! It reminds me a little of the pumpkin pasta my kids love so much. Any way that I can sneak veggies in, makes the dinner a bigger success for me. I will have to try this one!!


  • 13
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - January 28, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    Looks wonderful! I love the combination of butternut squash and parmesan cheese… I often add butternut squash to my macaroni and cheese, too. It's a great way to thicken the sauce without adding a lot of extra cream/fat.


  • 14
    Jenny - January 28, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

    The picture alone made my mouth water. I'm hungry for lunch now!


  • 15
    James - January 28, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

    I've been trying to find more ways of using butternut squash, the season is almost over! Thanks


  • 16
    Hillary - January 29, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Making this tonight!


  • 17
    Joanne - January 31, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    I was never introduced to squash as a child but I probably would have turned my nose up at it. Now, however, I am a verified addict.This looks delicious!


  • 18
    sarah (Catch A Cub In Its Den) - June 18, 2010 @ 2:36 am

    this dish looks delicious and addictive! it will definitely be the next pasta i make.


  • 19
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen - September 01, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    This looks AMAZING!! 90 degrees or not, can’t wait to try it this weekend!!!


  • 20
    Sam - October 20, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

    I’m trying this recipe tonight only I’m using frozen Butternut squash and replacing the half & half with a few TBS of Greek Yogurt to cut fat and calories but I still can get that creamy taste as if I added half and half. I’m also using bow-tie’s. I’m substituting b/c that is what I have in the pantry. I will comment with reviews although bc Im changing the recipe a bit it may vary!! :)


  • 21
    Rebecca - August 27, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

    Having this for dinner tonight, one of my absolute favorites. I don’t even go as far as half-and-half; Silk Almond milk works just fine and makes this dish even healthier!


  • 22
    Cheryl - February 29, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    I made this last night for dinner and I will definitely make this again!! It was SO good, flavorful, and really easy to make! I didn’t have some of the ingredients (lemon and the parsley), but it turn out fine! I think the next time I will use 1% or skim milk instead of half and half, just to trim down on the fat.


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