Dive into the ultimate comfort meal with Easy Butternut Squash Pasta recipe. A creamy butternut squash pasta sauce coats tender penne, crispy bacon, and is topped with melted mozzarella cheese.
The cooler weather, falling leaves, and earlier evenings make want to indulge in a bowl of velvety creamy goodness. It’s hard to resist an oven baked dish of Easy Butternut Squash Pasta with bits of crisp bacon and topped with bubbling melted cheese.
Bring on the colder days, warm sweaters, and warm up with a bowl of comfort food for the soul.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
The creamy sauce for butternut squash pasta bake has a multifaceted rich flavor. First, the chunks of braised squash soften while simmering on the stove. During baking, the squash breaks down more to meld into the sauce.
Half and half and parmesan cheese also add silky creaminess, while bacon, onions, garlic, and thyme elevates the pasta sauce’s flavor.
Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
Take this pasta dish to the next level by turning it into a Butternut Squash Pasta Bake!
After the squash comes together on the stovetop, gently toss with cooked pasta. Top the dish with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven until the sauce is bubbly and cheese melts.
For a faster weeknight meal, skip baking the pasta. Since the sauce thickens during baking, reduce the amount of half and half by 1/4 cup.
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Pasta
This easy dinner recipe can be made using gluten free penne. My preferred brand to buy is Barilla gluten free pasta.
If overcooked, gluten free pasta has a tendency to break down and become mushy. To avoid this, boil the gluten free penne half the time than the package calls for al dente. It should be firm and a little crunchy.
The pasta continues to cook during baking for perfectly cooked penne.
Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage
For a different flavor try using mild or spicy sausage instead of bacon in Easy Butternut Squash Pasta recipe.
If you are using Italian sausage, remove casings and cook until no longer pink. Transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and saute onions and garlic in sausage drippings.
How to Cut Butternut Squash
Cutting a butternut squash for the first time might be a little puzzling because of its odd shape. To get even sized cubes for this recipe follow the step-by-step instructions.
Check out this helpful article for more tips on how to pick out the best butternut squash.
- Use a vegetable peeler remove the skin and peel the butternut squash.
- Cut off the top and bottom so you have two flat ends. Use a large, sharp knife to cut down the middle vertically.
- Scrape out seeds and pulp with a large spoon.
- Cut each half into long, straight pieces about 1″ thick.
- Lay the pieces flat and cut the bottom thicker part into 2 sticks. Cut across to get 1″ butternut squash cubes.
How To Make Butternut Squash Pasta
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook about 3 minutes, or until about halfway cooked.
Stir in onions and continue cooking until bacon is crisp and onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
Add the thyme, cubed squash, and salt. Stir to combine and coat squash in bacon drippings.
Slowly pour in chicken broth, scraping the bottom of pan with a spoon to loosen all the browned bits. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
While squash is cooking, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to the directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
Add the half and half and parmesan cheese to the squash mixture and stir. Add the cooked penne and gently stir to combine butternut squash sauce with pasta. If you aren’t using an ovenproof skillet, transfer pasta with sauce to a greased baking dish. Top pasta with mozzarella cheese.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Cool slightly before serving.
Tips and Adaptations for Making Butternut Squash Pasta
- For vegetarian Butternut Squash Pasta, substitute vegetable broth and omit bacon. Saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil instead of bacon drippings.
- Garlic and shallot may be substituted for garlic and onion
- For gluten free pasta, cook penne 5 minutes less than the package calls for al dente. It should be firm and a little crunchy.
- If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet use a dutch oven or pour pasta mixed with butternut squash sauce in a greased baking dish.
- Try freshly minced thyme or sage instead of the 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
- Use 1/4 cup white wine instead of chicken stock for deglazing the pan.
- Instead of half and half, use heavy cream for richer flavor or milk to lighten the dish.
- Bulk sausage, sweet Italian, or spicy sausage may be substituted for the bacon.
More Favorite Pasta Recipes
- Italian Sausage Pasta – A creamy sausage red sauce with spinach coats penne pasta for a delicious recipe ready for weeknights!
- Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese – An easy one pot recipe with elbow macaroni and bites of chicken in a creamy, cheesy sauce flavored with fresh garden pesto.
- Creamy Sausage Pasta – Within 30 minutes you’ll be enjoying a heaping plate of fettuccine, browned sausage, and fresh spinach all in simply made, creamy pesto sauce.
SAVE THIS BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA RECIPE TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
Butternut Squash Pasta
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed 1" pieces (about 5 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces penne or gluten free penne
- 1 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook about 3 minutes, or until about halfway cooked. Add onions and continue cooking until bacon is crisp and onions are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes longer. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
- Add the thyme, cubed squash, and salt. Stir to combine and coat squash in bacon drippings. Slowly pour in broth, scraping the bottom of pan with a silicone spoon to loosen all the browned bits. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- While squash is cooking, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to the directions for al dente. If you are using gluten free pasta, cook it 5 minutes less than the package calls for al dente. It should be firm and a little crunchy. Drain and set aside.
- Add the half and half and Parmesan to the squash mixture and stir. Add the cooked penne and gently stir to combine butternut squash sauce with pasta. If you aren't using an ovenproof skillet, transfer pasta with sauce to a greased baking dish. Top pasta with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the butternut squash sauce is bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
❉DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND/OR CLICK A STAR RATING ON THE RECIPE CARD❉