This Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce is a quick and easy vegetarian recipe that even squash haters will love! Butternut squash, garlic and onion is roasted, then simmered with fresh herbs in white wine and broth, before being blended into a smooth, creamy sauce. Finish with salty, nutty grated Pecorino Romano cheese and toss with your choice of pasta.
Take this dish to the next level by topping it with crispy sauteed mushrooms, bacon, or Italian sausage (optional but recommended)!
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A “funny now but wasn’t funny then” kind of week:
We all have those weeks where nothing seems to go right. The week of the Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce recipe will always be remembered. It’s a “funny now but wasn’t funny then” kind of story, because sometimes you just need to laugh when all the craziness is over.
Bentley woke up sick and was acting very strangely, so we were getting ready to take him to the emergency vet (it was a Sunday, of course). It turns out that he just had a belly ache and all he needed was some good old chicken, rice, and canned pumpkin. He is ten years old, and the vet has had previous concerns of potential kidney disease, so naturally I freak out and convince myself he’s going to die. Thankfully, after switching him to a low protein diet and giving him an herbal supplement last year, his bloodwork came back normal, and the vet is no longer concerned.
So, by this point on Tuesday, Bentley is feeling better. I’m mentally prepared to conquer the Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce recipe. I pick up the organic butternut squash that’s been on the counter since the weekend, and it’s gone bad. We only have one car and Jon was at work, and Instacart said it was going to be hours before I could have an order delivered (we live in the sticks). By that time, it would have been dark. Okay, I will make it tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes around, and I get distracted by the doorbell. I OVERCOOK THE PASTA. Like over, overcook, mushy mess. At this point I’m ready to admit defeat and nix this cursed recipe, but I’m not a quitter. So, here it is. I hope you enjoy it. 😂
Creamy Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
Butternut squash is loaded with vitamins and low in calories. When roasted, it develops a sweet, caramelized flavor, and a beautifully creamy texture, making it the perfect base for a healthy pasta sauce.
My goal for this Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce recipe was to keep it clean and light, so no heavy cream is used. It’s still extra saucy and delicious!
How to Cut Butternut Squash
- Peel the exterior.
- Cut in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the pulp and seeds.
- Dice into cubes.
The Vegetables: Roasted and Blended
Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. The dry heat of the oven caramelizes the vegetables, enhancing and intensifying the flavors.
Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit (218° Celsius). For easier clean up, line your sheet pan with parchment paper. In a bowl or directly on the sheet pan, toss the prepared vegetables with the oil, half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and pinch of red pepper flakes. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for thirty minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time.
I used a red onion here, but that’s just because it’s what I had on hand. A yellow onion will work as well. 🧅
Wondering what kind of oil to use for your roasted vegetables? Take a look at this article, Cooking Oils and Smoke Points: What to Know and How to Choose the Right Cooking Oil, and bookmark it for later. It offers tons of useful information, and even a chart of oil smoke points for convenience.
I used avocado oil for this recipe as it has a high smoke point and is a healthy choice! 🥑
Now would be a good time to bring your generously salted pot of water to a boil.
Once the vegetables are done roasting, toss them in a food processor or blender with one and a half cups of vegetable broth, and blend. Add more broth as needed. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, a tiny chunk of butternut squash never hurt anyone!
Brown Butter + White Wine
Brown butter is regular butter that has been cooked just long enough to toast the milk solids found in the butter. It’s another way to add amazing depth of flavor to a sauce that has minimal ingredients.
Melt the butter, add one tablespoon each of thyme and sage, then stir occasionally until the butter turns a beautiful golden-brown color, as seen above.
Wine time! Splash in your white wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. The alcohol will cook off and bring an amazing flavor and acidity to the dish. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc works well here, but you can also use Pinot Grigio or Unoaked Chardonnay.
Finishing the Pasta with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce Recipe
Dump the roasted vegetable purée into the pan with the browned butter, along with the other half teaspoon of salt and pepper, and tablespoon of fresh thyme. Heat the sauce for a few minutes, and in the meantime, shred your Pecorino Romano cheese. Add the cheese and piping hot pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine.
Toss your pasta with the sauce, garnish with a little Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly cracked black pepper, serve, and enjoy!
As always, I’d love to hear from you all! About your experience with this dish, any alterations you may have made and loved (or didn’t love), or just life and cooking in general. You can also reach out via email (email@example.com), and/or stay connected with me on social media, which I have linked below!
MORE RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE:
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Butternut squash, garlic, and onion are roasted and blended with vegetable broth. Brown butter, white wine, and fresh herbs give this sauce an amazing depth of flavor. Finish with salty, nutty grated Pecorino Romano cheese and toss with your choice of pasta. Take this dish to the next level by topping it with crispy sauteed mushrooms, bacon, or Italian sausage (optional but recommended)!
- 1 pound pasta, cooked al dente (I use whole grain or Banza chickpea pasta)
- 1 butternut squash (one 2 1/2 pound squash yields about 4–5 cups)
- 1 red or yellow onion – whatever you have on hand, peeled, halved, then cut into thirds
- 6–8 garlic cloves (depending on size), peeled
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced and divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Crispy seared mushrooms (sliced or diced)
- Crispy chopped bacon
- Browned Italian sausage
- PREPARE AND ROAST THE VEGETABLES. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). For the butternut squash: Peel, halve lengthwise, scoop out the pulp and seeds, then dice into 2-inch cubes. Halve, peel, quarter, then separate the onion. Peel the garlic. Toss the vegetables with avocado oil, half a teaspoon each of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Roast the vegetables on a sheet pan in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until fork tender, tossing halfway through for even browning.
- BOIL PASTA WATER. When the vegetables are almost finished roasting, bring a generously salted pot of water to a boil.
- BLEND THE VEGETABLES. Once the vegetables are done roasting, transfer them to a food processor or blender, and blend with the broth until combined.
- BROWN BUTTER + WHITE WINE. Mince the thyme and sage. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium/low heat, then stir in one tablespoon each of thyme and sage. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam and sizzle. Keep stirring until the butter begins to turn golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and splash in the white wine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced to about half.
- COOK THE PASTA. Cook your pasta until al dente. Any pasta shape that you have in your pantry will work! Once the pasta is done, before straining it, reserve one cup of pasta water; it will be used to thin the sauce.
- FINISH SAUCE AND COMBINE WITH PASTA. Dump the roasted vegetable purée into the pan with the browned butter, along with the other half teaspoon of salt and freshly cracked pepper, and a tablespoon of fresh thyme. Heat the sauce for a few minutes, and in the meantime, shred your Pecorino Romano cheese. Add the cheese and piping hot pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine. Gently toss the pasta with the roasted garlic butternut squash sauce.
- GARNISH AND SERVE. Plate the pasta then top with shredded Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve, and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven, Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
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