Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

This butternut squash pasta is healthy, comforting, and delicious! Roasted squash, sage, and thyme fill the creamy sauce with cozy autumn flavor.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

The first time I made this butternut squash pasta sauce, Jack couldn’t stop talking about it for days. “That sauce!”, he kept saying. “That sauce!” Of course, I teased him for it, but if I’m being totally honest, I was completely smitten with it too.

Looking at this butternut squash pasta, you might expect it to taste like mac and cheese. But don’t be fooled. The creamy sauce is rich and nutty, with bold autumn flavor from herbs like sage and thyme. Because it’s so flavorful and complex, this butternut squash pasta would make a show-stopping vegetarian main dish at a special occasion dinner (pasta for Thanksgiving, anyone?). Still, it’s really comforting and easy to make, so go ahead and enjoy it on regular old weeknights too. On cold nights, Jack and I have been loading it into bowls and cozying up on the couch. One bowl is plenty to warm us up, but it tastes so good that we always go back for seconds…or, in Jack’s case, thirds.

Butternut squash pasta recipe ingredients

Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe Ingredients

If you love butternut squash, you’ll go crazy for this pasta sauce! In it, the squash is front and center, adding to the creamy texture and supplying sweet autumn flavor. You’ll need 1/2 small squash to make this recipe, enough to yield 1 cup cooked flesh. Chop up the other half and roast it, or save it for a salad or soup. In addition to the squash, gather these ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Shallots and garlic – They roast along with the squash, becoming sweet, nutty, and tender.
  • Cashews – My go-to ingredient for making sauces rich and creamy.
  • Nutritional yeast – It adds umami flavor to this butternut squash pasta sauce.
  • Balsamic vinegar – For tang.
  • Sage and thyme – They add earthy autumn flavor to the creamy sauce.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Last but not least, you’ll need some pasta! I like to serve this sauce over rotini, but you can use any pasta shape you like. I recommend a shape with lots of folds and creases to catch the delicious sauce.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Butternut squash pasta sauce in a blender

How to Make Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

This butternut squash pasta sauce is super easy to make! However, the first step is roasting the squash and shallots, which takes about 30 minutes. If you’re crunched for time, feel free to roast the veggies up to 2 days in advance. The rest of the recipe comes together in no time:

First, roast the veggies. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then, place it cut-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Wrap the shallots and garlic in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and add them to the baking sheet too. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°, or until the squash is tender.

Then, blend the butternut squash sauce. Add 1 cup roasted butternut squash, the shallots, peeled garlic cloves, cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, herbs, salt, and pepper to a high-speed blender. Pour in some water and olive oil to get the blender moving, and blend to form a thick, creamy sauce.

Butternut squash pasta in a skillet

Next, cook the pasta! Add it to a large pot of boiling water, and cook until al dente. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Finally, add the pasta back into the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Squash rotini with broccoli

Butternut Squash Pasta Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to eat, scoop the creamy butternut squash pasta into bowls. Garnish it with thyme leaves, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper. Jack would tell you to add some shaved Parmesan cheese too!

Jack and I have been loving this recipe with a scoop of sautéed broccoli on the side. Roast the broccoli if you prefer, or replace it with roasted cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, or sautéed kale. A fall salad, like my Pear Salad, Caesar Salad, or Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, would pair nicely with this recipe too. If you like, round out the meal with crusty bread or homemade focaccia to wipe up any sauce that’s left at the bottom of your bowl. It’s so delicious that you won’t want one drop to go to waste!

Butternut squash pasta recipe

More Cozy Pasta Recipes

If you love this butternut squash pasta recipe, try one of these delicious pastas next:

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Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

rate this recipe:
4.94 from 91 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves 4
Roasted squash, sage, and thyme fill this creamy butternut squash pasta with cozy autumn flavor. Serve it with sautéed broccoli or any veggie side dish you like.

Ingredients

  • ½ small butternut squash, halved vertically and seeded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped (⅔ cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • Sauteed broccoli, for serving, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place cut side down on the baking sheet. Wrap the shallots and garlic cloves in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
  • Measure 1 cup of the roasted squash flesh and transfer to a blender with the shallot, peeled garlic, water, cashews, olive oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, sage, thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Blend until creamy.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in a pot of salted boiling water. Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding ½ to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta. Season with ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt. Top with freshly ground black pepper, a few thyme leaves and sautéed broccoli, if desired.

139 comments

4.94 from 91 votes (47 ratings without comment)

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  1. Susan
    04.27.2024

    Do you need to soak the cashews first?

  2. Pam
    03.11.2024

    How would I use frozen butternut squash for this.??

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.15.2024

      Hi Pam, You could toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil and salt and roast them straight from frozen at 425°F. When they’re tender (after 15 minutes or so), remove from the oven and mash. You need 1 cup mashed squash for this recipe, which I’d guess is about 3 to 4 cups cubed squash. I’d still roast the shallots and garlic according to the recipe. They add great flavor!

  3. Mary
    02.06.2024

    4 stars
    How I could replace the butternut squash with organic canned pumkin? I would like to know how to cook the pumkin puree with the other ingredients, included the shallots. Thank you!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Mary, we haven’t tested this, so I can’t guarantee the results. However, if you’d like to use canned pumpkin here, this is what I would do:
      – Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots (diced), the garlic (minced), and a pinch of salt and cook until softened.
      – Stir in 1 cup pumpkin puree and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes to warm it through.
      – Proceed with the recipe as written, pureeing the sauce in a blender.
      I hope this helps! Let us know if you try it!

      • Dawn
        03.27.2024

        Can you sub almonds for cashews?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.