This Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce is a delicious vegetarian sauce that's incredibly easy to make. Simply roast vegetables and blend it all together! You can make it ahead or eat right away, but either way it's a great use of sweet squash.
- Pasta: I use fettuccini for this pasta because I love how thick it is and the sauce really gets caught in the swirls, but you could use any kind of pasta.
- Butternut squash: our main sauce ingredient!
- Onion: this gets roasted and blended with the squash to add great flavor.
- Garlic: also gets roasted and blended with the sauce - the best sauces have garlic!!
- Broth: I use vegetable broth to keep it a vegetarian dish - this helps thin out the sauce as it gets blended.
- Substitution: you can use chicken broth if you aren't trying to keep it vegetarian.
- Cream: makes the sauce a creamy luxurious dream!
- Substitution: you can use full fat coconut milk to make it vegan/dairy free!
- Warm spices: I love to add cinnamon and nutmeg because they pair perfectly with squash. It makes the sauce so decadent without making it feel like a dessert.
- Parmesan cheese: grating in fresh parmesan cheese when the sauce has come together adds the most delicious cheesy salty bite.
- Substitution: you can use pecorino romano or grana padano if you prefer.
- Thyme: optional but recommended to serve with a sprinkling of fresh thyme!
Step by step instructions
One of my favorite things about this creamy butternut squash sauce is how EASY it is to make. You literally roast the veggies and blend them up to make a smooth and creamy sauce. That's it. But here's some more detail:
1. Roast the vegetables. Toss the squash, onion, and garlic with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the spices and roast until tender (425℉ for about 45 minutes).
2. Blend to make the sauce. (Important: let the roasted vegetables cool COMPLETELY) Blend together the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, and cream until smooth.
Note: If you don't wait until the vegetables are completely cool, only blend them with the vegetable broth. Add the cream later when you are warming up the sauce on the stovetop.
3. Cook your pasta and combine with the sauce. Cook your favorite pasta in salted boiling water to al-dente. In the meantime, warm your sauce over medium heat on the stovetop and mix in the grated parmesan cheese (now is the time to add the cream if you did not add it before). When the pasta is done cooking reserve about ½ cup of pasta water. Add the pasta along with ¼ cup pasta water to the pot with the sauce and mix to combine. Add more pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve with fresh thyme and parmesan cheese.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure your veggies are at room temp before blending into the sauce!! This is an important one. Before you blend the sauce together with the broth and cream, make sure your veggies are at room temperature. If they aren't you risk curdling the cream in the sauce. If the curdling happens even if you thought your veggies were cooled enough, it's ok - just slowly warm the sauce on medium-low heat on your stovetop, whisking constantly - it should come together.
- If you don't want to wait, just blend the veggies with the broth and add the cream in later.
- Be careful when you blend the veggies together: Make sure your blender can handle the heat - it's usually good to leave a little vent in the blender open to let any steam out (but covered with towel so it doesn't splatter).
- How to pick a ripe butternut squash: Butternut squash don't have to be big to be ripe. Just look for the color of the skin - it should be a nice orange-ish tan color, and one color all over. If there's any green spots, it's likely not ripe.
- Easiest way to cut butternut squash: I cut the squash in half horizontally (separating the long part from the bulbous part). Then I stand up the pieces and carefully go around and slice off the skin. I feel this is much quicker than a vegetable peeler because butternut squash has a thick skin, but if you're more comfortable using a peeler definitely do that. From there, I slice into rounds or logs, and again into cubes.
- Use pre-cut squash: let's be real, cutting butternut squash is not the most fun task. So you can just skip it all together and buy pre-cut butternut squash cubes.
- Use frozen butternut squash: You can find frozen butternut squash in the freezer section at the grocery store and it works just as well as the fresh!
- Make it vegan: sub full fat coconut milk in for the heavy cream!
- Sub noodle alternatives: You don't have to use regular pasta, this dish would be great with zoodles, gluten free noodles, spaghetti squash, and so much more.
- Make it a soup: If you want to make this butternut squash sauce into a soup, you totally can! Add more vegetable broth until it's thinned out to your desired consistency.
- Add more veggies: It would be delicious to wilt some spinach or kale right into the sauce when you mix in the pasta. You can also roast broccoli or cauliflower (or your favorite veggie) and serve on top.
You can store it in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can also freeze the sauce (before adding pasta in) for up to 3 months.
It is best reheated on the stovetop slowly (both from being stored in the fridge or freezer).
If you've already combined with the pasta, it's best to reheat in the microwave.
Add a tiny splash of veggie broth if it got too thick while being stored.
Butternut squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Read more about it here.
You can freeze it for use another time! Cut it into cubes, lay them on a baking sheet and freeze for an hour, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag.
You can also use the extra squash for use in another recipe that week (such as a veggie bowl, chili, or a simple roasted squash side dish).
More butternut squash recipes
- Butternut Squash and Bacon Crostini
- Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce with Fettuccini
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 medium butternut squash 1 lb cubed squash
- 1 small yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup pasta water
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Preeat oven to 425℉
- Cut the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes and roughly chop the onion. Toss with the garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Roast for 40-45 minutes until the squash is tender.
- Blend together the roasted vegetables (everything you baked - squash, onion, garlic), vegetable broth, and cream until smooth. Important: let the roasted vegetables cool completely.Note: If you don't wait until the vegetables are completely cool, only blend them with the vegetable broth. Add the cream later when you are warming up the sauce on the stovetop.
- Cook your favorite pasta in salted boiling water to al-dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
- In the meantime, in a large pot warm your sauce over medium heat on the stovetop and mix in the grated parmesan cheese Note: now is the time to add the cream if you did not add it before.
- Add the pasta along with ¼ cup pasta water to the pot with the sauce and mix to combine. Add more pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.
- Serve with fresh thyme and more parmesan cheese.