This roasted butternut squash rotini is the epitome of healthy comfort food for Fall. Squash is roasted in the oven to make a great sauce!
I made this pasta for Julian and I last week. It has become one of our favorite healthy Fall meals. I add a small amount of bacon to this dish, which adds some extra flavor. I roast the bacon on top of the squash in the oven. The squash is then pureed in the blender to make a creamy and decadent sauce without any of the heavy cream or excessive cheese!
How to Make the Best Roasted Butternut Squash Rotini
While the full recipe details are available below, here are some tips to make the best squash rotini this Fall.
Squash: you want to cut the butternut squash into equal sized pieces. This is important because it ensures that the squash will roast evenly. The smaller you cut your pieces of squash, the less time it will need to cook in the oven. For added flavor, I also roasted shallots that I had quartered and some whole garlic cloves. Part way through the roasting process, you will toss the veggies on the pan. This is an important step because it will ensure they roast evenly.
Bacon: to maximize the flavor from the bacon, you will roast it on top of the squash, as shown in the picture above. When you toss the squash, flip the bacon over. You will do this part way through the cooking process to ensure the bacon gets cooked evenly. Keep an eye on the bacon once you have flipped it. You may need to remove the bacon before the squash is fully roasted. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess fat while the squash finishes cooking.
Pasta: for this meal, you want to use a pasta shape that will hold onto the sauce. I prefer to use rotini, however penne or cavatappi noodles will work well in this sauce too!
6 cups butternut squash, cubed (approximately 1 small squash)
2 shallots, quartered
4 cloves garlic, whole
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 strips bacon
2 cups baby spinach, sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella (2 oz)
2 tbsp shredded parmesan
Parsley (for serving)
Preheat oven to 400F. Set a salted pot of water to boil for the pasta. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the squash, shallots, garlic, thyme, ginger, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and olive oil until the veggies are well coated. Spread them out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drape the strips of bacon over the squash and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
Toss the squash on the baking sheet and flip the bacon over. Roast for another 8 to 10 minutes – you may need to remove the bacon and give the squash a little more time to roast. Place the bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess fat. Add the rotini to the pot of boiling water and cook to just before al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander and add back to the pot.
Add the roasted squash, shallots, garlic, chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of pasta water to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding more pasta water as needed. Pour the smooth mixture over the pasta. Add the spinach and cheeses to the pasta and stir to combine. Rip the bacon into small pieces and add to the pasta. Scoop into bowls and top with parsley to serve.