Make butternut squash pasta sauce from scratch with this 30-minute recipe. Then ladle it over rotini noodles for a flavorful fall meal!
Hearty comfort foods like pasta, stews and beef brisket are my favorites in the fall, and I really enjoy using seasonal ingredients to make them.
Butternut squash puree creates a silky smooth pasta sauce. Oh, and butternut squash soup is another must-make!
This meal pairs the squash with earthy sage leaves. Parmesan cheese adds a nutty saltiness, while onions and garlic bring savory goodness.
After you try it, I think you’ll be making this savory butternut squash recipe all winter long!
Butternut squash pasta sauce ingredients
Obviously, you’ll use squash, but in addition to that, you’ll also need these ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil– You can substitute any neutral flavor cooking oil for this. Avocado oil is a great choice.
- Yellow onion– If all you have on hand are white onions, you can use them instead. Oh, to make things easier, use my tips on how to chop an onion, with step-by-step photos!.
- Garlic– Fresh cloves of garlic will give you the best flavor. For convenience, you can buy a jar of minced garlic packed in oil.
- Sage leaves– If you can’t find sage leaves sold on their own, look for a package of fresh poultry seasoning. There will be a few sage leaves in there that you can use.
- Half-and-half or If you already have heavy cream and milk in the fridge, read my tutorial on how to make half-and-half. It will save you a trip to the grocery store!
- Parmesan cheese– Avoid buying the pre-grated stuff. Instead, buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself.
- Nutmeg– Feel free to grate it fresh if you want to. Otherwise, ground nutmeg works just fine.
How to cut butternut squash
If you want to save time, you can purchase ready-to-use chopped butternut squash. It’s pricier, but sometimes it’s worth paying a bit extra. Especially when you’re tired at the end of a long day and want to get dinner on the table quickly.
Keep in mind that pre-diced squash usually comes in larger pieces. I recommend cutting them into 1/2-inch cubes. This way, it will cook in the amount of time I’ve listed in the recipe instructions.
NOTE: If you’ve never cut and cubed a whole squash, check out my tutorial: roasted butternut squash, which includes step-by-step photos.
This recipe is very easy to prepare. Here’s what you do:
- While the pasta is cooking, steam or boil the butternut squash (you can also roast and puree it in advance). The squash and pasta take a similar amount of time to cook, but the squash may need a few minutes longer.
- Once those are both done cooking, use one of the same pots (less dishes) to cook some onions, garlic and sage in olive oil.
- Puree everything together in a blender along with parmesan cheese, half-and-half, and a few spices. The whole thing is ready to serve in 30 minutes.
FAQ (Frequently asked recipe questions)
Can I substitute acorn squash for butternut squash?
Yes, you can! As a matter of fact, pumpkin is another great substitute.
How long will the sauce keep?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-4 days.
Can I freeze butternut squash pasta sauce?
Leftover sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. However, you definitely want to store the sauce on its own without the pasta.
Cooked pasta can become mushy when thawed and reheated. Before freezing, cool the squash pasta sauce to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag.
Other savory butternut squash recipes
If you like this butternut squash pasta, you may also enjoy Butternut Squash Galette with Goat Cheese and Sage and Butternut Lobster Bisque!
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta (I used rotini)
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 medium squash)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium)
- 2 large or 3 small cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped (plus more for optional garnish)
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (see notes)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half (or 50% whole milk + 50% heavy cream)
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- In a large pot of generously salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Rinse pasta with a bit of cold water or toss with a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent sticking while preparing the other ingredients.
- Meanwhile, steam the butternut squash until fork tender, around 10 -15 minutes. (Note: larger pieces will take longer to cook). Alternately, you can cook the squash in boiling water for approximately the same amount of time if you don’t have a steamer. After boiling, drain through a colander, shaking to remove excess water.
- In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan set over medium-low heat (you can use the same pot used for the pasta), add 2 teaspoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once the oil is heated, add the onions. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent or just starting to brown. If necessary, add a tablespoon of water to the pot periodically to detach any brown bits that form, stirring them back into the onions. Add the garlic and sage and cook for an additional minute, stirring frequently, then remove the pot from the heat.
- Microwave the half-and-half for around 45-60 seconds until warm. If you prefer, you can add the half-and-half directly to the pot with the onions and stir over low heat until warmed through, but be careful to make sure the liquid doesn’t bubble and reduce.
- Puree the butternut squash, onion mixture, parmesan cheese, half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg in blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Toss sauce with the pasta. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you can add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve immediately, optionally garnishing each bowl with a small amount of chopped sage. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-4 days.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
For immediate help troubleshooting a recipe, please email me using the form on my contact page. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! For all general questions, please leave a comment here :)
This is so easy, and the flavors really pop! I never realized butternut squash and parmesan cheese worked so well together.
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
I love comfort food like this! A bowl of this on a rainy day would be perfect!
Such a creamy, flavorful sauce! Great pasta to eat from now until spring!
Wilhelmina Wessel says
This pasta is the kind of meal I could eat every day and never tire of! The sage and nutmeg add so much depth!
Aysegul Sanford says
Oh gimme all the butternut squash!! I love this sauce with all the parmesan. SOOO yummy.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
This is amazing and love that I can keep some in the freezer for a rainy day!
Christina Kincel says
Fabulous, easy to make! I used almond milk in place of the half-and-half. My husband (who refuses to eat squash of any kind, thought it was sweet potato) enjoyed it. Shhh, let’s keep this among us!