This Cheesy Roasted Butternut Squash Rigatoni is the coziest (and cheesiest!) comfort food! Cooked rigatoni pasta is tossed in a quick cheese sauce made out of homemade butternut squash puree, sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese. A delicious fall side dish or decadent main!
I want all.the.pasta!
It’s that time of year when I start craving butternut squash everything and pasta. So why not combine the two? I mean, you probably already have a zillion recipes calling for butternut squash, so really what’s one more? Because this one is pretty darn tasty and was the first “Macaroni and cheese” recipe I made in my 20’s that was edible. True story. Thanks to Rachel Ray (and her body suits😂), I was able to make mac and cheese (or rigatoni and cheese) successfully.
Squash. Pasta. Cheese. Heaven.
To Make This Cheesy Roasted Butternut Squash Rigatoni You Will Need:
- dried rigatoni pasta
- fresh sage
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- low-sodium chicken broth
- half & half
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ground nutmeg
- butternut squash puree
- parmesan cheese
- sharp cheddar (white or yellow)
I highly suggest that your ingredients be measured and by the stove top which will help speed it all along nicely.
Earlier this morning I roasted my butternut squash and pureed it.
Bring a large pot of water with a palmful of sea salt to a boil. I do this first before starting my sauce. It takes a bit to get a pot of water to boil, so it’s important to start this first. The sauce can wait on the pasta, not the other way around.
In a saucepan over medium to medium-low heat, I threw in 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter to melt.
Once the butter has melted add in the minced shallots and garlic with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and let it cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile I plucked ten beautiful, soft, fresh sage leaves from my garden and gave them a mince. It should be about 2 tablespoons.
Once melted, I sprinkled in three tablespoons of flour.
Whisk it all together and let the flour cook for a minute.
Once the flour has cooked, whisk in 1 cup chicken stock.
And 1-1/2 cups half & half.
Season with a pinch of kosher salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. I go easy on the salt because of the parmesan cheese and cheddar that I’ll be adding later.
Now just cook the sauce on medium-low, whisking every so often, until it thickens. About 4-5 minutes.
After the sauce has thickened, add in 1-1/2 cups of roasted butternut squash puree with 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
The squash is really what gives this pasta its color!
Whisk to combine.
Lastly, add in 1/4 cup of the extra sharp cheddar cheese. White or yellow cheddar, it doesn’t matter.
Keep whisking until everything is melty and smooth.
Keep the sauce warm over low heat while you cook the noodles, following the directions on the box of course.
When the noodles are al dente, add them into the pan with the cheese sauce.
Toss well to combine.
Transfer the cheesy pasta to a lightly greased baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheddar. Preheat your broiler and slip it underneath for about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
Oh yes. Crispy cheddar top, saucy center…
All the cheese strings!
Serve spoonfuls into bowls and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Maybe even some chopped parsley if you’re feeling fancy.
I love the sage and shallot flavors going on. That along with the subtle sweetness of the squash and sharp cheese – SO, so good!
Roasted Butternut Squash Rigatoni
FOR THE PASTA:
- sea salt , for pasta water
- 16 ounces rigatoni pasta
- olive oil spray, for baking dish
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- 1½ cups half & half, see notes
- pinch kosher salt, plus more or less to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1½ cups roasted butternut squash puree
- 1¼ cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted (palmful sea salt) water to a boil and spray a casserole dish with olive oil spray.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the shallots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Then add in the sliced fresh sage leaves and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour and whisk, cooking the flour for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Next whisk in chicken stock and half & half. Season with a small pinch of salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and the nutmeg. Heat over medium-low, whisking ocassionally until the sauce has thickened about 4-5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and add in the butternut squash puree, parmesan and a 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Whisk until smooth. Taste and season with more salt or pepper if desired.
- At this point the salted water should be boiling, so add in the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta noodles and transfer them to the cheese sauce. Toss to combine.
- Move your oven rack to the highest position and preheat your broiler on high.
- Pour the pasta into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.
- Slide the pan under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a light golden brown in spots.
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