Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach is a perfect Autumn comfort food. This easy and flavorful recipe is packed with veggies (roasted butternut squash and spinach) and will become your favorite Fall and Winter family weeknight dinner!
Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta - Seasonal and Holiday Main Course
Butternut squash pasta is one of those recipes you would probably make only in the Fall and Winter when the butternut squash is in season. Which makes this pasta so much more special! It's so good I hope you will be looking forward to making it every year! My other favorite butternut squash pasta dish that I highly recommend is butternut squash and spinach lasagna.
This easy pasta is also a great holiday main course. If you want to expand your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu, add this colorful and flavorful roasted butternut squash pasta to your holiday menu! Another fantastic holiday recipe is Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries.
Why Make Butternut Squash Pasta
This roasted butternut squash pasta is one of those rare pasta recipes that combine both comfort food deliciousness and healthy ingredients. This pasta is surely comforting yet it's packed with fiber and nutrients. A perfect family weeknight dinner!
- Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as several minerals, including magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Butternut squash is also rich in dietary fiber.
- Spinach is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. It’s high in fiber and a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Spinach is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid, iron, and calcium.
How To Make Butternut Squash Pasta
- Bow Tie Pasta. This recipe uses an Italian pasta, called Farfalle, or bow tie pasta. The bow-tie shape of this pasta works very well with the cubed butternut squash and adds an appealing look to your dinner. Cook bow-tie pasta al dente for best texture.
- Butternut Squash. This wonderful vegetable is known for its subtly sweet and nutty flavor. In this recipe, butternut squash is roasted with olive oil and acquires a nice soft texture on the inside with a little crunch on the outside.
- Sausage. If you have a spicy sausage somewhere in your fridge or freezer, this is the recipe to use it! Spicy sausage will blend exceptionally well with sweet and nutty butternut squash and creamy pasta sauce. Use crumbled sausage without casings. Any type of pork sausage, spicy sausage, or Italian sausage will work!
- Spinach. Spinach adds flavor, texture, and colorfulness to this pasta dish.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
For everything you need to know about roasting this fantastic vegetable, refer to my recipe on how to roast butternut squash.
The butternut squash should be peeled, seeded, and cubed. You can do it yourself or buy cubed butternut squash in the store. Tip: If you peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash ahead (or bought cubed squash in the store), you can store it refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Use cubed butternut squash within 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Combine butternut squash with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss together.
- Then, spread the squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure the butternut squash is not overcrowded. This way the air can circulate around the squash in the oven and the squash roasts properly instead of steaming. Roasted this way, without overcrowding, will give squash a slightly crunchy texture on the outside. This will ensure that the squash is roasted and not steamed.
- Roast the squash in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes.
How To Make Creamy Pasta Sauce
While the butternut squash is being roasted, prepare the cream sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil together with 4 minced garlic cloves and 6 oz of spinach. Cook on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Add heavy cream. Bring to boil and immediately reduce to a low or medium boil.
- Add shredded Parmesan cheese while the sauce simmers, constantly stirring.
- Season with salt to taste, about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Note: No salt is necessary if the sausage is very salty.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add crumbled sausage and cook for about 10 minutes, regularly stirring, until the sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
How Long to Cook Pasta
- Usually, the pasta is cooked in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Always check the cooking time on the package instructions for precise times of cooking pasta.
- To prepare any pasta al dente, cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes, or for 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
Assemble the Pasta
- Add drained cooked pasta and cooked sausage to the creamy spinach sauce in the skillet. Stir. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with roasted butternut squash. Stir it in, or leave butternut squash on top.
Tips on Making Pasta Ahead
Make-ahead Tip: Roast butternut squash up to 2 days ahead. Keep it refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. Reheat it briefly in the microwave (for about 30 seconds) before adding it to the pasta. Or, just add it to the creamy pasta sauce, stir it in and reheat it in the cream sauce.
How to Store, Freeze, Reheat Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
- Refrigerate. Store leftover butternut squash pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze. You can freeze butternut squash pasta in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
- Reheat. Reheat the pasta gently on the stovetop in the skillet over medium heat, stirring halfway through. Add extra milk or heavy cream to thin out the sauce.
It's always best to serve bow tie pasta (or any pasta) al dente. That's when the pasta texture is at its best. Storing cooked pasta for a day or two will cause the pasta to lose its perfect texture, however, it will still taste great.
Also, keep in mind that the cream sauce when refrigerated loses its texture and becomes thick. To reheat it the next day, reheat over medium heat and add extra milk or heavy creamy when reheating to thin out the sauce.
- Pasta. Use any type of short pasta. That includes farfalle (bow-tie pasta), penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or orecchiette. You can also use gnocchi.
- Spinach. This butternut squash pasta will work equally well with spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or arugula. Pick the greens of your choice, add them to the pasta, and enjoy!
- Sausage. Use crumbled sausage without casings. Regular or spicy pork sausage (such as Jimmy Dean brand) is a great choice. Crumbled Italian sausage or spicy Italian sausage is another excellent option.
- Cheese. Use shredded Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, or Asiago. You can also use shredded low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese. Do not use soft Mozzarella cheese balls.
- Cream. If you don't have heavy cream, you can use half-and-half instead and add more shredded cheese to thicken the sauce.
Other Butternut Squash Pasta Recipes
Butternut squash is an amazing vegetable that pairs beautifully with pasta, whether the squash is roasted or pureed. Here are some delicious butternut squash pasta recipes to explore:
- Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Pecans
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Tortellini
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
What to Serve with Butternut Squash Pasta
- Salad. Because this pasta has a rich creamy sauce with lots of veggies, any type of simple fresh salad will make an excellent pairing. Serve this pasta with a simple spinach salad with pine nuts and Parmesan or cranberry spinach salad with cashews and goat cheese. Or, pair the pasta with the colorful and easy-to-make arugula salad with apples, cranberries, and pecans.
- Bread. Serve the pasta with warm garlic bread or olive bread. If you want to venture out and make your own simple loaf - try this easy bread recipe made in a bread machine.
Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 2 cups butternut squash , peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ lb sausage , crumbled, without casings
Creamy Pasta Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 6 oz spinach
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 oz farfalle (bow tie pasta)
Roast Butternut Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large bowl, toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer, without overcrowding.
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.
- Add crumbled sausage and cook for about 10 minutes, regularly stirring, until the sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Tip: Cook the sausage while the butternut squash is being roasted.
Make Creamy Sauce
- In a separate, large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil together with minced garlic and spinach over medium heat. Cook, occasionally stirring, for about 5 or 7 minutes until spinach starts to wilt.
- Add heavy cream. Bring to a brief boil, then immediately reduce to simmer (boiling but not intensely). Add shredded Parmesan cheese. Keep stirring the sauce with the Parmesan cheese on low to medium boil (simmer) until the cheese melts. Remove from heat.
- Season with salt to taste, about ¼ teaspoon of salt. No salt might be necessary if the sausage is very salty.
- Tip: Use your judgment about whether to add salt or not based on how salty the sausage is. Make the cream sauce while the butternut squash is being roasted.
Cook Pasta and Assemble
- Cook pasta al dente in boiling water according to package instructions. That usually means cooking pasta in boiling water for about 7 to 11 minutes. Drain.
- To a large skillet with the creamy spinach sauce, add drained cooked pasta and cooked sausage. Stir. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Top the pasta with roasted butternut squash. Stir the squash in, or leave it on top.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
The only thing I would change would be to double the ingredients! So good I wanted more!
I think I might want to make this. It sounds delicious, but I wanna know what kind of sausage used.?
I used medium Italian sausage.
This was very good! My husband, who likes traditional things like meatloaf and pork chops, had seconds, which is remarkable.
I precut the butternut squash so as to save time. I also used half and half for the sauce and it was lighter but still tasty.
I will definitely make this again.
Mary Ann, thank you so much for taking the time to share this rave review - I so appreciate it! ❤️
I’ve made this before and it’s DELICIOUS! It’s even husband-approved (he’s super picky). Was thinking about making it tonight but I realized I don’t have fresh spinach. Is it possible to use frozen chopped spinach? Any recommendations?
Melissa, you can definitely use frozen spinach - just make sure it's thawed and drained really well and patted dry with paper towels to get rid of any moisture since it was frozen. And just proceed with the recipe as is.
This was gross. The sauce was SO thin, and so bland. Needs wayyyy more spices or something, yikes.
Stephanie, your comment is the first negative comment on this recipe!
Very easy to follow recipe that is absolutely delicious…..one of our new favorites
John, so glad to read comments like that! 🙂
I just made this….
Everyone is asleep… I’m up cooking
Your instructions were simple
THIS IS FANTASTIC!!
Julia, thank you so much for taking the time to share such a positive and enthusiastic comment! I really appreciate it. 🙂
OMG! I just made this, and it's amazing! I used spicy sausage. Just out of this world delicious!
Sara, thank you for this raving review and 5-stars! 🙂
Made this today and it was delicious!! I used Hot turkey sausage and Silk half & half since I don't like heavy cream or regular sausage. My husband loved it as well.
This looks like a good recipe to write into the plan for this week! Thoughts on adding canned mushrooms? would they go well?
I had quite a few comments on this recipe from readers who added fresh mushrooms and loved it! I am sure canned mushrooms (as long as they are not marinated and not pickled) would taste great, as well!