Brighten up pasta night with fresh pesto sauce and crispy golden brown butternut squash! This delicious fall dish is perfect for a cozy dinner and one that the whole family can enjoy.
If you're like me, pasta night is a weeknight favorite. It's easy, satisfying, the kids enjoy it... I mean, what's not to like?
My favorite pasta recipes lately have been roasted veggie creamy pasta, burst cherry tomato pasta and of course my no-boil pasta bake, but one of my absolute all-time favorites is simply pasta with a vibrant pesto sauce.
Pesto is one of those versatile sauces that can be used for just about anything to spruce up an easy meal: pastas, pizzas, soups, sandwiches, you name it. I actually even love it as a dip for fresh veggies!
And while pesto can be added to basically any pasta dish, when I paired it with maple roasted butternut squash it blew me away. The flavors of the pesto combined with the sweet, caramelized butternut squash is seriously a match made in heaven.
This recipe uses my 5-minute pistachio pesto because I really enjoy its rich, nutty flavor, but it works well with any pesto recipe such as my classic version using basil and pine nuts, kale pesto, parsley arugula walnut pesto or even a nut-free hemp seed version!
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
The butternut squash in this recipe is just as much a star as the pesto. As much as I don't like the summer to end, the fall means its butternut squash season and that keeps me going!
Butternut squash packs in fiber, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamin A and vitamin C. It is a nutritional powerhouse that also has such a unique delicious flavor when roasted.
The butternut squash naturally sweetens as it caramelizes while roasting, but I love to enhance it further by seasoning it with a little maple syrup and maple sugar. The bite-sized squash pieces are so addictive that I have to restrain myself from snacking on them all before mixing in with the pasta!
This main dish comes together from three components (pasta, pesto and roasted butternut squash), all of which use simple ingredients.
- Pasta - any pasta will do. I prefer gluten-free rigatoni or cavatappi as these shapes hold pesto well.
- Pistachio pesto (or other homemade pesto)
- Fresh basil, pistachios, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, maple syrup, red pepper chili flakes and lemon juice.
- Maple roasted butternut squash
- Diced butternut squash (1-inch pieces), avocado oil, maple syrup, maple sugar, black pepper and salt.
1. Prepare the maple roasted butternut squash. Season the squash and roast for 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through. See the recipe card for more details.
2. Cook the pasta. As the butternut squash roasts, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
3. Prepare the pistachio pesto. Pulse the pesto ingredients in a food processor, adding the olive oil in towards the end. See the recipe card for more details.
4. Mix in the roasted squash and pesto with the pasta. Serve immediately. Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Salt the butternut squash after roasting. Adding salt prior to roasting will soften the butternut squash and they will not be as crispy.
- Use a cast iron skillet for the butternut squash if possible. For best results, I recommend a cast iron skillet. If you do not have one, line 2 half sheet baking sheets with parchment paper. The squash will not get as caramelized and crispy as with a cast iron skillet but they will still be delicious.
- Swap in other ingredients for the pistachio pesto if necessary. While this specific combination is my favorite, pesto is one of the most forgiving sauces you can make because ingredients can easily be swapped. Feel free to use pine nuts or walnuts instead of pistachios or other herbs such as arugula or parsley instead of basil!
I hope you enjoy this pesto pasta recipe with butternut squash! Please comment below and share photos @eatingbyelaine so I can see your creations!Print
Brighten up pasta night with fresh pesto sauce and crispy, golden brown butternut squash! This delicious fall dish is perfect for a cozy dinner and one that the whole family can enjoy.
- 8-10 oz pasta (any type is fine but I recommend rigatoni or cavatappi)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 oz fresh basil leaves (~2 cups packed)
- ¼ cup roasted and salted shelled pistachios
- 3 large cloves garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1, 2 lb butternut squash, peeled, stem removed, seeded and chopped into 1-inch cubes (measures 6 cups when chopped)
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp pure maple sugar
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¾ tsp fine salt
- Prepare the maple roasted butternut squash. Season the squash and roast for 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through. See the recipe card for more details.
- Cook the pasta. When the butternut squash is nearly cooked, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Prepare the pistachio pesto. Pulse the pesto ingredients in a food processor, adding the olive oil in towards the end. See the recipe card for more details.
- Mix in the roasted butternut squash and pesto with the pasta. Serve immediately.
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 35-40
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Italian