Butternut squash pasta is creamy, tasty, and so incredibly simple you can make it any day of the week with minimal effort.
We roast the squash in the oven for maximum flavor, blend it with ricotta and parmesan, and mix the pasta in the sauce. It’s a colorful and easy-cheesy pasta recipe with few ingredients.
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Butternut squash is THE autumn vegetable! You can make anything with it, from gnocchi and ravioli to risotto and this scrumptious and creamy butternut squash pasta.
This recipe is straight-up beginner-level since there’s not much cooking involved. But the taste is not beginner at all. Every bite is packed with flavor and an irresistible chewy-creamy texture.
The secret? A creamy-dreamy, velvety butternut squash pasta sauce you could eat with a spoon straight out of the blender.
To make it, we roast the ingredients in the oven because they get so flavorful this way. Roasted butternut squash is so-much-better than stovetop butternut squash!
And while the veggies roast in the oven, you can cook your favorite pasta shape, al dente, drain it and stir it in the sauce.
And that’s it! That’s how to make the tastiest and creamiest butternut squash pasta.
You can get whole butternut squash, peel it, and chop it yourself. Or you can purchase pre-cut butternut squash to save some time.
You can substitute pumpkin or another winter squash for butternut squash. To add extra flavor to the squash, you can roast it with a crushed garlic powder or clove and a few sage leaves.
Any pasta shape works for this recipe. We use rigatoni, farfalle, fusilli, rotini, penne, and even long pasta shapes such as spaghetti and linguine.
To make the recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
We recommend extra virgin olive oil if you have it; it’s more stable at high temperatures and has a fruitier taste. We use it to roast the butternut squash.
Salt and pepper
We use sea salt or kosher salt to add taste and black pepper for the aroma. The butternut squash sauce can take quite a bit of black pepper; freshly ground is best.
Both regular ricotta cheese and our homemade dairy-free ricotta work well for this recipe. Ricotta helps soften the sweet butternut squash flavor and make the creamy butternut squash pasta more balanced and fulfilling.
Parmesan is for taste! Lots of taste. If you are vegan, you can keep the parmesan cheese out, or replace it with a vegan cheese replacement.
Pistachio nuts and thyme leaves
We garnish the plate with toasted pistachio nuts for a little nutty crunch, and fresh thyme leaves for a pleasant aroma. You can substitute walnuts for pistachios, or you can omit nuts all-together, and simply sprinkle with parmesan.
Other fresh herbs that work well are sage and parsley.
Step 1: roast the butternut squash
Preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel and seed the butternut squash, then cut it into 1-inch cubes.
Add it to the baking sheet with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Toss and bake for 30 minutes, until completely soft and slightly browned.
Step 2: make the sauce
Transfer the roasted butternut squash to a food processor (or blender) and add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, a few thyme leaves, and water.
Blend until you have a smooth sauce, then transfer it into a large pan.
Step 3: toss in the pasta
Boil the pasta al dente in a large pot with heavily salted water.
Reserve one cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and add it to the pan.
Tip: we like to add some extra freshly ground blacked pepper.
Toss on medium heat for about a minute, adding as much reserved pasta water as you need to make the dish perfectly creamy.
Serve the butternut squash pasta with fresh thyme laves, pistachio nuts, and optionally a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.
This creamy butternut squash pasta pairs well with greens and roasted veggies on the side. Here are some vibrant side dish ideas:
- Simple side salad with fresh leafy greens
- Crunchy kale chips with lemon and garlic
- Italian salad with oregano dressing
- Braised artichokes – Italian style on the stovetop with mint and lemon
- Steamed artichokes – tender, meaty, and creamy
- Cucumber and tomato salad for a lighter side dish
- Brussels sprout salad made with crunchy shaved brussels sprouts
- Roasted broccoli with lemon and garlic
- Roasted Brussels sprout with maple syrup
- Oven-baked veggie tray
Dairy-free butternut squash pasta (vegan)
To make this recipe vegan, you can either keep out ricotta and parmesan cheese or replace them with vegan alternatives.
If you decide to keep them out, keep in mind that the sauce will be sweeter and lighter. We’d recommend topping the pasta with a tasty mix of fried sage and walnuts.
Chop the sage and the walnuts and gently fry them on a non-stick pan for one minute in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and with a pinch of salt.
Transfer them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb extra oil, then drizzle on top of the pasta.
Refrigerator: store leftover butternut squash pasta in an airtight container for up to two days. Also, store some reserved pasta water that you’ll use to warm up the pasta on day two.
After a few hours in the fridge, the pasta sauce will inevitably thicken up. To make it creamy again, warm it up with a dash of reserved pasta water on a pan or in the microwave for two minutes.
Freezer: this recipe is not freezer friendly.
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Butternut Squash Pasta
- Food processor or blender
- ¾ pound rigatoni pasta or any other
BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA SAUCE
- ¾ pound butternut squash peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
FOR THE SAUCE
- ⅔ cup ricotta cheese or our dairy-free ricotta*
- 1 cup parmesan cheese or dairy-free parmesan
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 2 twists black pepper
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoon pistachio nuts
- Preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Peel and seed the butternut squash, then cut it into 1-inch cubes.Add it to the baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder.Toss and bake for 30 minutes, until completely soft and slightly browned.
- Transfer the roasted butternut squash to a food processor (or blender) and add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and water.
- Blend until you have a smooth sauce, then transfer it into a large pan.
- Cook the pasta al dente in a large pot with salted boiling water. Reserve one cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and toss it in the sauce.Stir for half a minute on medium heat. Add some reserved pasta water if necessary.
- Serve the butternut squash pasta with fresh thyme laves, pistachio nuts, and optionally a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.
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