This 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Alfredo is creamy, cheesy, and SO delicious. Packed with roasted butternut squash, lots of parmesan cheese, and just a touch of cream, this is an easy dinner you’ll come back to time and time again this fall!
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Alfredo
Yesterday was one of those really great days. The baby slept in. Kevin stayed home. We walked, played, had coffee, and ate a home-cooked frittata before 9am. We went to lunch. We shopped for furniture for our basement renovation that may never be complete. We swung at the park (Well, the baby swung, we pushed.). We kissed Teddy Boo Boo entirely too many times.
It was like the best low-key, yet productive Sunday, but on a Monday, which makes it even better, because we’re that much closer to Friday.
I had absolutely no intention of cranking out a blog post for today, for fear I’d turn my relaxing, perfect family day into a stressful workday. Yet, when the baby went to sleep for his afternoon nap, and Kevin quickly checked his email, I found myself in an almost silent house, with nothing to do. Because my first instinct is never to clean the house or do laundry as it should be, I instead, decided to throw this quick 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Alfredo together. Which is basically an easier version of this Creamy Butternut Rigatoni.
Aldente linguine noodles intertwined in a creamy butternut-squash cream sauce and studded with plenty of parmesan cheese, THIS is what pasta dreams are made of. Simple and delicious.
With only five ingredients, this super easy rift on a classic, is something anyone can throw together, even on the busiest of nights. While we all know how terrible a classic alfredo sauce is for you, I’ve slightly lightened up this version by using pureed butternut squash as the base of the sauce, and half and half instead of heavy cream.
Ingredients in Butternut Squash Alfredo
Butternut Squash. Of course you can’t have butternut squash Alfredo without the butternut squash. To save on time, I like to buy my butternut squash cut and peeled already, but of course, you can do this yourself. If you do buy the pre-cut squash, just make sure the cubes are relatively similar in size.
Olive oil, salt and pepper. To roast the squash, I just a little bit of olive, plenty of salt, and pepper.
Half and half. Instead of using heavy whipping cream as you would in a typical Alfredo sauce, here, we lightened things up just a touch by using half and half. If you really wanted to cut calories and fat more, you could also whip up a quick béchamel sauce with milk.
Parmesan cheese. When using minimal ingredients, you want to make sure you use good-quality ingredients. Here, I like to use parmigiano reggiano, which is basically the best parmesan cheese you can buy. It’s nutty, sharp, and SO delicious. If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for it, you can also use a good-quality ages parmesan as well.
Linguine. I love to use linguine here, but fettuccine and pappardelle would be a close second.
How to make butternut squash Alfredo
Roast the squash. Again, because we’re using only five ingredients, you really want to squeeze out as much flavor as you can from each ingredient. To do this, I like to roast the butternut squash. Roasting helps to caramelize the squash, creating an extra layer of flavor you wouldn’t get from simply sautéing it or steaming it.
Toss the cubed squash with a little bit of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until super soft and caramelized.
Make the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the half and half and roasted squash to a large skillet. Turn the heat on medium-high and bring up to a boil. Use a fork or potato mashed to puree the squash into the half and half. (You can also put all of the half and half and squash into a blender and blend until smooth.).
Add the rest of the half and half and a little bit of salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Cook the pasta. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta. Cook until the pasta is aldente.
Finish the sauce. Add the cooked pasta along with a little bit of the starchy cooking liquid to the squash and half and half mixture. Continue to toss on a low heat until until the noodles have coated the sauce. Add cheese and toss again. If needed, add more starchy pasta water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Cut the squash in smaller pieces so that they cook fast. Also, make sure the pieces are about the same size, so they cook at the same rate.
- Use spaghetti, fettuccine, pappardelle or any kind of long pasta noodle.
- Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce so you receive all that delicious starchy cooking liquid.
- Season season season! Make sure to season your butternut squash adequately. Season the pasta water. It should taste as salty as sea water.
- If you want a super smooth sauce, transfer the half and half and squash to a blender and puree. I like to save dishes, so I mash everything in the same skillet.
- Feel free to use cream instead of half and half.
How do I make this even lighter?
If you want to make butternut squash Alfredo even lighter, try this. Whisk 2 tbsp flour with 1/4 cup low-fat milk. Once that’s smooth, whisk in another 1/2 cup low-fat milk with the flour/milk mixture. Replace milk with half and half and proceed with the recipe as directed.
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Alfredo
This 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Alfredo is creamy, cheesy, and SO delicious. Packed with roasted butternut squash, lots of parmesan cheese, and just a touch of cream, this is an easy dinner you'll come back to time and time again this fall!
- 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (You want them in about 1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 8 oz linguine
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt, it should taste as salty as the sea.
Place the diced squash on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Use hands to coat the squash in the oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes or until soft.
Cook the pasta until just under aldente.
Once the squash are done cooking, add them along with 1/2 cup of the half and half to a large skillet. Turn the heat on medium and bring to a simmer. Use the back of a fork or potato masher to puree the squash into the liquid. Once all of the squash is combine, add in the remaining half and half and salt. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is done cooking, use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce. Reserve all the starchy cooking liquid. Add the cheese to the pasta and sauce along with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta, sauce, cheese and pasta water over a low heat until everything is combined. Add more pasta water to loosen the sauce up if neccessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more parmesan cheese.