This Shell Pasta In Butternut Squash Sauce is such a comforting family meal!! My kids ask for it early Fall, before pumpkins come out because of the beautiful Fall colors. You can make it with any of your favorite pasta, but we favor shell pasta for this recipe.
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Roasting Butternut Squash
You’ll need a medium size butternut squash for this recipe. Cut the butternut squash in half along the longer side. Remove seeds and the sticky stringy pulp they’re tangled with by using a spoon. It’s easy to scrape them all with a spoon.
I use Butternut Squash in this Leek Soup recipe and while I cut the squash there on a different direction, the scooping method is the same. So take a look at that recipe if you like because it has a video too.
You have to be very careful when you cut butternut squash as it is very dense and tough to cut. Use a sharp knife and position the butternut squash firmly on a counter. We’ll just cut in half and roast it after removing the seeds. Then it’s much easier to work with it.
Butternut Squash Creamy Sauce
You can use this sauce for many types of pasta. The reason we love it with shell pasta is that the sauce coats the pasta on the inside but plenty of times it will fill some of the shells with sauce. These bites are special burst of amazing flavor!!!
There are couple of tips about the sauce I want to share with you.
Chop onion fine or dice it. After you saute and add the wine to the pan and scrape it well, you can use a fine strainer to remove the onion. This will make the sauce smoother. If you don’t mind the onion in the sauce, then you can saute it a little bit longer (lower heat a bit so it doesn’t burn).
I love using pinot grigio to make this pasta sauce. If you’re sensitive to alcohol, then you can replace the pinot grigio with either vegetable broth or chicken broth.
Sauce can look runny initially, but once you add pasta to it, stir and coat the shells right away and have to serve soon after. Pasta will absorb some of the sauce. Feel free to add some more cream or broth to sauce if you want.
How To Serve This Shell Pasta?
I serve this pasta recipe with some fresh basil for garnishing. Then I top off each plate with freshly grated parmesan cheese and black pepper. We serve a big salad as a side dish.
Shell Pasta in Butternut Squash sauce
- Medium size pot
- 1 butternut squash medium size
- 3 tbsps unsalted butter
- 0.5 medium yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated half the cup will be used in the sauce and half for topping the plates individually later
- 1 cup half and half cream you can replace with heavy cream
- 0.5 cup white wine preferrably pinot grigio
- 16 ozs shell pasta
- pinch sage optional
- Cut butternut squash in half. Scoop the seeds and pulp. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes. Usually I know it's ready if I can stick a fork in it. Let cool until squash is ok to handle.
- Once butternut squash is cool to handle, scoop all the squash and put it in a blender. Slowly add the half & half (or heavy cream). Blend for a minute or two until very smooth.
- Chop onion really fine and mince the garlic.
- Saute onion and garlic in butter. Keep heat medium, it might take a little longer to saute but it would avoid any burning. Saute for few minutes.
- Add wine once onion is cooked and looks transparent. Scrape well with a wooden spoon. You can strain the onion out or leave as is. Then add the blended butternut squash with half and half. Once you mix it well, lower heat to low. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and sage. Stir everything together then finally add half of the parmesan cheese and turn heat off.
- To save some time, I tend to boil water in an electric kettle when I'm blending the squash. Then cook the pasta at the same time as when I'm making the sauce. Cook the pasta al dente, about 8-10 minutes.
- Drain pasta (over a large pot) and then add pasta shells to sauce. If sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water (about 0.5 cups at at a time) to make it more runny. Give it a good mix and pasta is ready to serve.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Top off for each person as desired, usually we just do more freshly grated parmesan cheese and coarse cracked pepper (kids don't like the pepper). Enjoy:)
- If you feel comfortable cutting and peeling the butternut squash before baking, you can cut the butternut squash in inch size cubes after you peel it and bake it that way, then throw the pieces straight into a blender after baking.
- This sauce tends to highlight the flavors so go slow with anything from cheese to salt to spices. You can always add more, but it’s hard to fix if you added too much. A little works miracles.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin the below image to your boards in Pinterest. Feel free to contact me with any questions or show off your version of this recipe in social media:)
Other Pasta Recipes
Check out these other pasta recipes in my blog:
- Bolivian Spicy Pasta (Aji de Fideos)
- Shrimp Pasta in Tomato Sauce
- Mushroom Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef