A creamy riganoti pasta topped with butternut squash sauce topped with fried sage
Rich, luxurious, pretty, easy, new favourite meal. These are some adjectives that you can use to describe our creamy butternut squash riganoti served with fried sage – just because a little bit of crispy herb never hurt anyone! We love pasta and are grateful to have a number of noodles to choose from, and so many different ways to top them! Whether you crave a meat sauce like our traditional Greek makaronia me kima (aka pasta with meat sauce) or want to keep it vegan with our zucchini pasta sauce, the options are as endless as the shapes and toppings you have to choose from.
Our current favourite way to enjoy pasta is with this recipe – an utterly creamy sauce made with butternut squash (and a few other delicious things) coating one of our favourite pastas. Rigatoni is the perfect conduit for this rich vegetarian sauce; there is so much surface area to coat! The topping of fried sage really brings this dish to another level. If you don’t have fresh sage however, just omit it. Better to do that than not make this recipe at all!
What do you need to make creamy butternut squash pasta with fried sage?
The list of ingredients is pretty simple, and you can find the exact measurements below in the recipe box. Take a quick look to be sure you have what you need at home. If you have these items in your fridge or pantry, you are good to go:
Butternut squash: We typically only use fresh butternut squash. Recently though, we came across a bag of frozen, cubed butternut squash at the grocery store. We bought it, used it in our squash and pearl couscous salad, and were happy with the result and ease! If you do use frozen squash over fresh, just adjust the cooking time.
Olive oil: You will need olive oil to fry the sage, and the vegetables that make up the sauce. Use the best olive oil you can afford, and of course, we are partial to Greek brands.
Onion and garlic: Could you possibly make a pasta dish without onion and garlic?! Well, of course you can (like in our spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra), but typically they are included.
Vegetable stock: Although you can make your own vegetable stock we typically just purchase it. There are many varieties available, many which have no added salt, which we prefer (so that we control the seasoning). You can substitute the vegetable stock for chicken stock or even plain water, although the flavour will differ of course.
Pasta: We love this sauce with rigatoni, but almost any pasta shape will do. Just be sure that it is substantial enough to hold the sauce and be coated by it.
Grated parmesan cheese: The cheese takes this recipe to the next level of deliciousness. If you don’t have parmesan cheese you can use a grated romano cheese or the Greek hard cheese called mizithra.
Heavy cream: Adding heavy cream to the sauce definitely adds richness to the recipe. The total amount is 1/4 cup, which isn’t a huge amount. No need to feel guilty about the extra fat and calories!
Fresh sage: Frying sage does something beautiful to this herb. If you don’t have sage, you can either omit any herb topping, or consider adding fresh parsley or fresh basil to your pasta upon serving.
Salt, pepper, chili flakes: All meant to season your food and elevate the flavours! We offer amounts to be used, but your taste buds are the best unit of measure here.
Variations to this butternut squash pasta recipe
Make it vegan! Turn this vegetarian dish into a vegan one. Replace the heavy cream with equal amounts of either non-dairy heavy cream, vegetable stock, or water. Regarding the parmesan cheese, either omit it entirely or replace it with non-dairy grated cheese, or nutritional yeast to taste.
Make it non-vegetarian! For a heartier meal you can top your creamy butternut squash pasta with some grilled chicken. You can also replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock.
Use a different type of squash: Although butternut squash is one of our favourite, another winter squash like acorn squash would work really well too.
Change the pasta: We love this recipe with rigatoni, but it is just as good with linguine, penne and even bowtie pasta. Experiment with what you like, and what you have on hand!
If you love pasta, we think you’d love our “Spanakopita Mac and cheese”. Watch video below:
If you love our butternut squash pasta we think you’ll also enjoy these pasta recipes:
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Butternut squash pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small 1/2 inch chunks (about 3 cups)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable broth plus extra, if needed
- 12 ounces rigatoni
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
To make fried sage
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sage and stir it around to coat it with the olive oil. Fry the sage until it gets crispy and dark green in colour (if it turns brown it has burned). Once ready, transfer the sage to a small dish lined with paper towel. Sprinkle it with a pinch of salt to taste and set aside.1 tbsp olive oil, 15 fresh sage leaves, chopped, 1 pinch salt
To make pasta sauce
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, Add the squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small 1/2 inch chunks (about 3 cups), 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, chopped, pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the vegetable broth to the frying pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Next, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is soft and the liquid is reduced by half; this should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You might need to add more broth, if your pan gets too dry.2 cups vegetable broth
- While your sauce is simmering, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Reserve one cup of the pasta water before draining your noodles.12 ounces rigatoni
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree the mixture until it is smooth; you may have to do this in batches. Be mindful that blending hot ingredients can cause steam to escape from the top of your blender - be careful not to burn yourself. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using the same frying pan that you used to prepare your sauce, combine the cooked pasta, the squash puree, ¼ cup of the pasta water, the heavy cream, and the parmesan cheese. Cook over medium heat making sure that the sauce coats the pasta evenly. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed. Cook until heated through, approximately 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Serve the pasta topped topped with the fried sage. Add more grated parmesan at this point if desired.