Last updated on April 11th, 2019.
A flavorful, lightened up version of the classic Alfredo sauce, this Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta Sauce is smooth and rich. Made with roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, and fresh basil, you’ll love the aroma in your house as you make this for dinner.
We’ve been so into pasta lately! I think it’s because my picky eater toddler *loves* pasta, and cooking pasta for dinner cuts down on dinner prep: It’s easy to cook a big batch of pasta, set aside a few noodles for my son, and then toss the rest with the sauce. This way if he doesn’t like the fancy “grown up” pasta dish I make, he can have plain noodles with olive oil.
Because of the frequent pasta consumption, I’ve had to get creative with pasta sauces. A little while ago I made Veggie-Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta. This month I am back with a Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce.
You can see there is a pattern here: I am always trying to add as many vegetables as possible to my pasta recipes to make the dishes as healthy and as nutritious as pasta can be.
This pasta recipe is made with an easy butternut squash Alfredo sauce. It is rich, creamy, flavorful, and so delicious because it is made from freshly roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, fresh basil, and freshly grated Parmesan. When the ingredients are fresh, the flavor is fresh.
I love this recipe because if you are feeling lazy, you don’t have to make a separate vegetable side dish: the vegetable is already in the sauce. Of course, if you want to go extra healthy, you can also make a separate salad or vegetable dish to go with this butternut squash pasta.
How to make Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce:
- Roast cubed butternut squash and garlic.
- Blend roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, half and half, and milk until smooth.
- Add the butternut squash sauce to the cooked pasta. Add fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water if needed.
Three simple steps to make the most flavorful, lightened up version of Alfredo sauce!
Some variation ideas for this Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta:
Of course, pasta with a good sauce is delicious. But here are a few ways you can vary this recipe so you never get bored of it:
- Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to the sauce.
- Add a pinch of red chili pepper flakes to the sauce.
- Add crumbled feta cheese to the sauce.
- Serve the pasta with diced pan-seared chicken.
- Serve the pasta with shrimp.
- Roast some zucchini while you are roasting the butternut squash, and stir in the roasted zucchini with the finished pasta dish (don’t blend it into the sauce!)
- Don’t blend all the butternut squash into the sauce – leave a few cubes out and toss them with the pasta.
- Transfer the cooked pasta and the sauce to a casserole pan, top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and broil until the cheese melts. You can stir in sliced cooked chicken breast into the pasta before topping with cheese.
A few tips for the ingredients:
I recommend going fresh for this recipe!
- Fresh butternut squash instead of canned pumpkin (which is actually mostly butternut squash and not pumpkin!) – because you’ll be able to roast the butternut squash to bring out more flavor.
- Fresh garlic cloves – same reason as above, so you can roast the garlic and bring out its natural sweetness and turn it into a mild flavor.
- Fresh basil leaves instead of dried herbs – dried basil does not compare to the flavor and aroma of the fresh stuff.
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese instead of the pre-grated powdered stuff from Kraft. The fresh cheese will melt nicely into the sauce.
You can use your favorite pasta for this sauce. I highly recommend rigatoni, or another tube pasta that catches all the extra sauce inside and adds a pop of flavor every time you bite into a piece. That “squish” of sauce that you get from biting down on the pasta is lovely.
Here are a few tools to make this recipe easier:
Herb scissors: these are fun to use and make it easy to quickly chop up a bunch of herbs.
Zester: this microplane zester is AWESOME at quickly grating cheese.
Blender: I can’t tell you how much I love my Blendtec blender. It’s pricey, but oh so worth it because everything gets so smooth and creamy in it, every time. (By the way, it tells you how many times you’ve used it every time you turn it on and I DEFINITELY got my money’s worth in just a year of use.)
Other pasta and butternut squash recipes you might love:
- Veggie Loaded Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Roasted Vegetable Fettuccine
- Baked Chickpeas in Butternut Squash Sauce
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know with a comment or a star rating below! And don’t forget to save it for later on Pinterest:
Butternut Squash Alfredo
- 1 small butternut squash (1.5 lb)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 lb uncooked pasta (such as rigatoni)
- 1/2 cup milk (any kind, I used 2%)
- 1/4 cup half and half (or substitute milk for a lower-calorie option)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves , chopped
Optional toppings, if baking:
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F. Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta.
- While the oven is preheating and pasta water is boiling: Peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1.5-2 inch cubes. Place in a large baking dish. Add 2 garlic cloves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir, and make sure the butternut squash is in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast at 400F for 15-20 minutes, or until the butternut squash can be pierced easily with a fork.
- While the butternut squash is roasting: Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions (about 12-13 minutes for rigatoni - this may vary depending on your brand of pasta). Drain the pasta, but reserve 2 cups of cooking water and strain it into a heat-proof container! You'll need it for the sauce. Return the pasta to the cooking pot and toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Make the butternut squash sauce: Add the roasted butternut squash to a blender. Add the roasted garlic. Add 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup half and half. Process until smooth.
- Finish the pasta: Add the cooked pasta back to the pot. Turn the heat on low, add the pureed butternut squash sauce to the cooked pasta, and stir. Add the fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese and stir. Add up to 2 cups of reserved cooking liquid (1/4 cup at a time) to thin out the sauce, if necessary. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce is heated through. Serve immediately, garnishing with extra basil and Parmesan cheese. Or follow the next optional step.
- Optional: Turn the oven on to broil. Add the finished pasta from step 5 to a 2.5 quart casserole pan. Top with a mixture of 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese melted and starts turning golden brown. Carefully remove from the broiler and serve immediately.