Autumn is replete with winter squashes for our feasting pleasure and butternut squash is one of my favourites. This Butternut Squash Pasta recipe is loaded with the flavours of roasted squash, leeks, sage and thyme, sherry, the crunch of roasted walnuts and the tang of Roquefort cheese. Perfect for dinner any night, it’s a great Meatless Monday meal; elegant, simple, quick to prepare and absolutely delicious.
Butternut squash is chock-full of vitamins and minerals and is so delicious; it really is one of my favourite of the winter squashes. So similar to pumpkin (as a matter of fact, in Australia and New Zealand it’s known as butternut pumpkin), it’s got a slightly sweet taste that works beautifully with savory flavours.
In this simple pasta sauce, I oven-roasted cubes of butternut squash, coated with a titch of olive oil, salt, pepper and some sage. While the squash was roasting, I softened leeks in a bit of butter to which I added sherry, fresh thyme, and a bit more sage. When the butternut squash was roasted, I mashed half of them into the leek mixture and added heavy cream.
The pasta was topped with this thick sauce, the remaining roasted butternut squash cubes, some toasted walnuts and crumbles of Roquefort cheese. The result was nothing short of outstanding. With the various textures of the squash, the crunch of the walnuts and the piquant tang of the Roquefort, this “sauce” had so much depth.
Since I cooked my pasta and the leek mixture at the same time the squash was roasting, this dish was ready for the table, start to finish, in about 30 minutes. What a beautiful, tasty addition to your hectic weeknight schedule!
I hope you’ll try it.
- 2 cups peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash (about ½" cubes)
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage, divided
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup sliced leeks, washed and drained
- 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (or a dry white wine)
- ½ - ¾ cup heavy cream (you could use half & half or milk), adjusted for desired thickness
- ½ cup walnut pieces, toasted
- 2 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- 8 ounces pasta in your favourite shape (I used Gigli) cooked according to package instructions for al dente
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add the cubed butternut squash and the olive oil.
- Sprinkle on ¼ teaspoon of the sage, reserving the other ¼ teaspoon for later, and add salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat the squash.
- Place the squash on the parchment lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the preheated oven.
- Allow to roast for 20 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, put a saucepan of salted water on to boil for the pasta. When the pasta is done, drain in a colander set over a bowl to catch the pasta water. Hold for later.
- Wile the pasta is cooking, in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the leeks, the remaining ¼ teaspoon of sage and the thyme leaves (pulled from the stems) and allow to cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add the sherry to the leeks and allow to cook for another couple of minutes.
- Take half of the roasted butternut squash and add it to the leek mixture.
- Using a fork, or a potato masher, coarsely mash the butternut squash.
- Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
- Adjust salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
- Prior to serving, dump the cooked pasta from the colander back into the reserved pasta water and drain again. This will reheat the pasta.
- Add the pasta to a plate or pasta bowl, top with the creamed butternut squash mixture, add remaining cubed butternut squash, walnut pieces and Roquefort crumbles.
- Serve hot.