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Butternut Squash Pasta

This creamy Butternut Squash Pasta is a comfort food dream! Luxuriously coated creamy fettuccine with tender roasted butternut squash, crisp bacon, and fresh thyme.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword butternut squash pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Roasting Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 843kcal
Cost $8.12

Ingredients

Squash

  • 6 cups (1-3/4 lbs; 820g) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Note 1)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Pasta

  • 10 oz. fettuccine
  • 4 thick-sliced bacon slices Note 2
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (60g) thinly sliced shallots, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup (210g) chicken broth low-sodium
  • 1-1/4 cups (285g) heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup (43g) Parmesan cheese freshly grated Note 3
  • 4 lightly packed cups (100g) baby spinach Note 4
  • Optional: fresh thyme, additional Parmesan for topping Note 5

Instructions

  • SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. On a very large sheet pan (or 2 smaller ones), add the squash cubes, olive oil, dried thyme, and Italian seasoning. Season to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.) Generously space out the cubes on the sheet pan (if they're overlapping, they'll steam, not roast) and roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or until crisp tender. If they are too closely spaced or cut too large, they'll take 5-10 minutes longer. Remove and set aside.
  • PASTA: Set a strainer in the sink with a heat-safe mug or liquid measuring cup. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and then cook the pasta according to package instructions minus 1-1/2 minutes. Use the mug to remove a big scoop of pasta water and then drain the pasta and set it aside.
  • BACON: Meanwhile, dice the bacon and cook, over medium-high heat, in a large heavy-bottom skillet until golden and cooked to desired preference. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon onto a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave the drippings in the pan (if there is more than ~2 tablespoons grease, drain off the excess).
  • SHALLOTS/GARLIC: Reduce heat to medium. Add the butter to the skillet. Once melted, add shallots, garlic, and a tiny pinch of salt & pepper. Cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth; it should sizzle and boil. Scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Once this 1/2 cup is mostly evaporated, add in the other 1/2 cup. Stir.
  • CREAM SAUCE: Add in the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Simmer, over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until it thickens and slightly reduces.
  • TOSS: Add the spinach and pasta and use tongs to toss into the cream sauce until the sauce thickens, nicely coats the pasta, and the spinach cooks down (1-2 mins). If needed (sauce is too thick), slowly add in the reserved pasta water. Once sufficiently tossed, add in the roasted squash, 3/4ths of the bacon, and toss to coat.
  • SERVE: Serve immediately. Top individual plates with remaining bacon pieces, a touch more Parmesan if desired, and fresh thyme if using. Enjoy immediately! Pasta is best enjoyed right after being tossed!

Video

Notes

Note 1: Butternut squash: Use pre-chopped squash or cut your own -- details for how to do this is described in the main post under the title, "Prepping Butternut Squash."
Note 2: Bacon: To ensure there are plenty of drippings (and flavor) left behind, use thick-sliced bacon. If you don't have thick bacon, you'll need more (aiming for about 4-6 ounces bacon). Remove excess grease by grasping a paper towel with tongs and dabbing the excess.
Note 3: Parmesan: Grab a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it on the small holes of a cheese grater to get an accurate measurement and the perfect melt in this sauce.
Note 4: Spinach: While the spinach doesn’t have to be chopped it does integrate better in the dish that way. Plus, you’ll get spinach in more bites and the smaller pieces are easier to eat. I just run a chef's knife through a big pile of spinach quickly!
Note 5: Fresh thyme: We wanted this dish to be simple to make without requiring loads of ingredients, so fresh thyme is the answer for packing in a ton of flavor as a single ingredient -- in my bowl, the more the merrier! Yes, it's optional, but if you're wanting a punch of fall/winter flavors and love thyme, you'll love it in this pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 843kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 1113mg | Potassium: 1686mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 38622IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 761mg | Iron: 5mg