Cozy up with this comforting Butternut Squash Pasta with goat cheese with pecan topping! A super flavorful vegetarian dinner for fall and winter nights.
Lads and lassies! Say hello to your new favorite fall meal...butternut squash pasta. Ahhh, let’s let that sink in.
I know “favorite” is a strong word, but I'm going there. I don’t use it lightly, so I assure you this recipe is indeed that tasty. Creamy and tangy and simply bursting at the seams with melty squash and crunchy pecans. The best!
I just can't get enough. Jeff couldn't either! In fact, we were both feeling rather blue when the pot was empty.
But listen, I've got some news! Food news. Did you know October is National Pasta Month? I kid you not. And couldn't we all use a fabulous excuse to celebrate right now? Let the party commence with this insanely satisfying and supremely creamy butternut pasta!
I wanted to celebrate with this dish because I was craving a taste of home, and nothing takes me there quite like a home-cooked meal. Can we all agree that sharing a quality dish of pasta is one of the simplest ways to show love? Or ya know, to say you’re sorry, to say you missed someone...the list goes on. Pasta solves problems, people!
I was super pumped to make this for Jeff considering he’s pasta obsessed – a comforting taste of home that shows how much I care. Weeee!
Which pasta to use
Today I’m shining the spotlight on my favorite fall produce paired with Barilla Gluten Free Penne. I adore this pasta because it lives up to the quality standards that pasta lovers have come to expect from Barilla.
It's made with corn and rice and cooks to al dente perfection in 10 minutes. I can always count on Barilla's quality being top notch. When I served this to the hubs, he was floored that it was gluten free!
I love me some bean pasta too as an alternative, but there's something extra impressive about a gluten free pasta that is indistinguishable from its wheat flour counterpart.
A lot of my pals either can't tolerate gluten or choose not to consume it, so having yummy alternative options is much appreciated.
How to make butternut squash pasta
We're pairing pasta with the most lovely hunks of butternut squash roasted to caramel perfection. Then we'll layer in buttery sautéed shallots, garlic and sage with tangy goat cheese to form a luscious sauce.
Top it off with an irresistibly crispy pecan and breadcrumb situation. Mega texture and flavor but also simplicity so the pasta can really shine!
- First, we roast our squash on the lowest rack for 30 minutes so it gets plenty brown. Flavor town.
- Meanwhile we cook our pasta until perfectly al dente, or about 10 minutes. We're reserving 2 cups of that nice starchy pasta water to form our simple sauce.
- Next we brown our breadcrumbs and pecans, which will make the most amazing topping.
- Now we start our sauce by sautéing our lovely shallot, garlic, and sage in some butter. The smell! Add in goat cheese and pasta water to form a creamy sauce.
- Mix in the roasted squash, then add the pasta. The cherry on top is the breadcrumbs for crispy crunch!
Key ingredients and tips
- Pasta: I love Barilla Gluten Free Penne cooked perfectly al dente. Rotini or fettuccine would also be nice.
- Butternut squash: One of the stars of our pasta show! Sweet, caramelized squash for epic fall flavor. Delicata squash would be lovely here, too.
- Shallot + garlic: I appreciate the delicate flavor of shallot, but onion can also be used.
- Goat cheese: To me, fall and goat cheese are just meant to be. Give me all the tang! Goat cheese forms the base of the sauce and gives this dish loads of creaminess and flavor. Use a log of goat cheese versus pre-crumbled for the best consistency.
- Pecans + bread crumbs: You're going to flip for this superbly flavorful combo. Nutty, crunchy, and oh so satisfying both mixed in and on top.
- Butter: Oodles of yummy flavor and mouthfeel. You could also use vegan butter if you fancy. Salted or unsalted works.
- Sage: It wouldn't be a fall pasta dish without fresh herbs, right? If you don’t have sage, it’ll still taste fab without!
More cozy pasta recipes
- Vegan Lasagna
- Thai Pasta Salad
- Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Alfredo Pasta
- Healthy Southwestern Pasta Salad
A weeknight wonder awaits!Print
Cozy up with this comforting Butternut Squash Pasta with goat cheese and pecan topping. A super flavorful vegetarian dinner for fall and winter nights!
- 12 oz box penne pasta (reserve 2 cups pasta water)
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced small (20 oz)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
- ¾ cup shallot, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (optional)
- 2 oz goat cheese (use log style versus pre-crumbled)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F and move the rack to the lowest position. Line your largest baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place squash on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil plus a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bake on the lowest rack for 30 minutes, tossing halfway.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
- Warm 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large pot (I used my 5.5 qt dutch oven). Add breadcrumbs, and pecans and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Transfer mixture to a small bowl.
- In the same pot, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter. Add shallot and a pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic and sage and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add goat cheese, squash, and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water, stirring to form a creamy sauce. If mixture looks too thick, add another ½ cup water.
- Remove from heat and stir in pasta, tossing to combine. Fold in ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture. The pasta will absorb liquid as it sits, so serve immediately or add more pasta water as needed to loosen. Top with remaining breadcrumbs before serving!
Inspired by this recipe.
This post is sponsored by Barilla. Photos by The Nutritious Kitchen.