Sunday, January 9, 2011

Is Butternut Squash Buttery?

Part 3 of my winter produce pursuit is the butternut squash.  I think the the first time I tried butternut squash and really enjoyed it was at the Taste of Georgetown a few years ago.  Clyde's had a butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and duck confit...oh my goodness, my mouth died and went to heaven! 

Still, that does not mean I cannot enjoy butternut squash from the comfort of my own home.  I have made my own butternut squash soup, but have not been able to perfect the smooth consistency which the best butternut squash soups have.... Still, below is my new favorite recipe.  It is a butternut squash pasta bake with ricotta cheese.  When roasted, the squash almost "melts like butter" to make an awesome sauce.  I call it my grown up version of mac & cheese, and trust me, it is super tasty, comforting, and healthy.

Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
Adapted from

1.5 cup dry whole wheat pasta (I prefer rotini because it catches all the sauce!)
boiling water to cook pasta
20 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed (Trader Joe's sells this exact thing)
1 1/4 Cup milk
2 T all-purpose flour
2 t minced garlic
1/2 t table salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I use fat free, but any kind if fine)

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place squash on prepared baking sheet; roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.  
  • While she squash is roasting, place a medium pot of water on the stove to boil.  Once the water comes to a boil, heavily salt the water and place pasta in the pot.  Cook until 'al dente' or while it's still firm and not squishy.  I cook my pasta from a minute under the time on the package since the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain, and set aside in the original pan, covered.
  • Mash the butternut squash with either a hand masher, or in a ziplock bag.  I like mine to still be a bit chunky, but you can get it completely smooth by using a blender instead.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently; reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened (about 2 minutes).
  • Remove the sauce from the heat; add in the mashed squash and thyme, then toss with the pasta to coat.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish, dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and walnuts.
  • Bake until the top is lightly browned in a few spots and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes, and enjoy!


  1. I must tell Joshua about this. He will be thrilled. :)
    [Which is code for "I can't wait until we make this."]

  2. Yay! I'm glad you think it sounds good. I think I made it 3 times just in the month of December alone!

    I actually roasted the butternut squash the night before, put it in the fridge, nuked it for a minute or two the next day, then mashed it. It seemed to turn out fine and made my dinner come to the table that much faster!

    Be sure to tell me what you think of it after you try it!