Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

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.