A creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce without the cream! The secret is in the starchy pasta water.
I’m extra proud of this weeknight dinner creation – it was made with the squash I grew in my garden! It was the first time I actually got them to ripen to full size.
This creamy sauce is perfect for a quick pasta bake or just tossed with some rotini + veggies. Thirty minutes and you’ve got a delicious dinner even your pickiest kid will like! Need an adult version too? Add some hot sauce for a nice kick (my favorite hot sauce)!
I have to tell you about this little kitchen gadget that my sister gave me for (early) Christmas. Have you seen one of these?
It looks like one of those Chinese finger traps. Except this one is for peeling garlic! I was skeptical about its functionality, but it really does peel garlic quickly!
Just insert the garlic, then press and roll it on a hard surface and out pops the naked garlic! The simplest things make me so happy.
There are six garlic cloves in this butternut squash pasta sauce, so it definitely made prep work a cinch. I’m not skilled enough to crush and peel garlic with the side of a big knife, so this tool is perfect for me.
And while I’m bragging about my home grown butternut squash, I’d like to also add that the garlic cloves were also grown by yours truly.
How to Make Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
- Steam butternut squash on the stovetop with garlic and broth.
- In a separate pot, boil pasta, reserving pasta water.
- Puree cooked butternut squash, 1 cup pasta water and onion powder in a blender.
- Add sauce to pasta and any vegetables you want to incorporate, add cheese, bake in the oven until heated through.
- Need to make it vegan? Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce is as easy leaving off the cheese!
A creamy butternut squash sauce without the cream! The secret is in the starchy pasta water.
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed (about 4.5 cups)
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb regular or gluten free pasta cooked **RESERVE 2 cups pasta water
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 cups frozen peas
- fresh mozzarella to top
Prep the butternut squash and place in a large saucepan with garlic cloves, vegetable broth, generous pinches of salt and pepper and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes. Bring to a rolling boil, cover and turn heat to medium. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the squash is tender.
While the squash is cooking, boil the pasta until al dente, 6-8 minutes depending on your pasta. Make sure to season your pasta water with salt, about 1 tablespoon. When pasta is al dente, RESERVE 2 cups pasta water before draining all the pasta.
Place the cooked butternut squash mixture in a blender with 1 cup of the pasta water and 1 tsp onion powder. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the thickness with extra pasta water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use this as a pasta sauce mixed with your vegetables of choice or continue to make a pasta bake. Noting that if you plan on baking it, the sauce should be runny - the pasta will soak up more liquid as it bakes and cools.
For the pasta bake, heat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, mix pasta, peas (tomatoes, spinach, etc.) and sauce.
Place the pasta mixture in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish greased with 1 tbs olive oil. Place thin slices of mozzarella over the top, if using. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes to warm all ingredients together and melt cheese.
Remove foil, drizzle 1 Tbs olive oil over the top and broil for 3-5 minutes to brown the mozzarella and give the top a little crunch.
*When reheating this I always add a little extra broth or water while warming it. The sauce tends to thicken when it's cold and that helps loosen it.
Other mix + match combos that work great with this butternut squash pasta sauce:
- spinach + sautéd mushrooms + goat cheese
- tomatoes + kale + mozzarella
- steamed broccoli + roasted red peppers + cheddar