This Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta (5 Ingredients!) is creamy, cheesy, and SO delicious. Packed with roasted butternut squash, plenty 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!
This is an updated recipe from 2016. We updated the photos and made minor changes to the recipe.
Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
Yesterday was one of those really great days. The kids slept in. The husband stayed home. We walked, played, had coffee, and ate a home-cooked frittata before 9am. We went to lunch. Swung at the park. And I whipped up this easy-as-can-be 5-Ingredient Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta (which is basically an easier version of this Creamy Butternut Rigatoni) for dinner.
With only five ingredients, this super easy rift on a classic (butternut squash + pasta), is something anyone can throw together, even on the busiest of nights. While we all know how terrible a classic alfredo sauce can be for you, I’ve lightened up this butternut squash pasta by using pureed roasted butternut squash as the base of the sauce. Just a touch of half and half instead of heavy cream, and a generous amount of starchy pasta water thin the butternut squash out to the perfect consistency.
THIS is what pasta dreams are made of. Simple and delicious.
Ingredients in our Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
Butternut Squash. Of course you can’t have butternut squash pasta 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, we simply use 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 or use all starchy pasta water.
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 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 aged parmesan as well.
Linguine. I love to use linguine here, but fettuccine and pappardelle would be a close second.
Let’s make Butternut Squash Pasta!
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.
Cook the pasta. One of the key ingredients of this butternut squash pasta is the starchy cooking water we cook the pasta in. To get the pasta REALLY starchy, I like to cook the linguine noodles in a shallow skillet.
Make the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the half and half and roasted squash to a blender, along with another 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water. Blend until smooth and transfer to the same pan you cook the pasta in.
Add the rest of the starchy pasta water and the cooked pasta to the butternut squash puree. Toss the pasta in the sauce over a low heat until the sauce clings to the noodles.
Finish the sauce. Add the parmesan cheese and toss again. If needed, add more starchy pasta water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Cut the squash in smaller pieces so that they cook faster. 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.
- If you can’t find 12 oz of fresh linguine, you are welcome to use dried pasta. Cook the pasta in a bigger pot as it will soak up more water and require more space to cook.
- Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce so you reserve 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. And again, season at the end.
- If you want to save on cleaning dishes, skip the blender and use a potato masher to puree the sauce in the skillet.
- Feel free to use cream instead of half and half or omit the half and half altogether in place of pasta water.
Other great fall dishes to make
- This Creamy Sausage Pasta with Sweet Potato is a fall favorite! We toss sautéed sweet and sausage in a brown butter sauce and then stud it with plenty of parmesan cheese.
- These Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple Cider Cream Sauce are a favorite in our house and super easy to throw together.
- Our Short Rib Bolognese is one of our reader favorites. We take rich short ribs and slow cook them in a red wine sauce. We add pappardelle noodles at the very end and cook them directly in the sauce.
- 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (You want them in about 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
- 12 oz linguine
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups pasta water
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Large skillet
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the diced squash on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Use hands to coat the squash in the oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, toss again. Spread the squash evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes or until soft.
- Fill a large skillet with water. Bring to a boil. Season liberally with salt, it should taste as salty as the sea. Add the fresh pasta, and cook for a few minutes less than the package says (we will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce later). Alternatively, you could use 12 ounces of dried pasta, but you will need to cook them in a large pot and cook just under aldente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water and drain the pasta leaving the skillet empty.
- Once the squash is done roasting, transfer to a blender along with 1/2 cup of half and half and 1/2 cup starchy pasta water. Blend until smooth and pour back into the skillet you cooked the pasta in.
- Whisk in another 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1-2 minutes and then turn the heat down to low. Add the cooked pasta along with the parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Add another 1/2 cup of pasta water to loose the sauce up even more. Continue to toss the pasta until the cheese has melted. If needed, add more pasta water to get to desired sauce consistency. (I used 1 1/2 cups total.)
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan cheese.