Butternut squash ricotta pasta features pasta tossed in a creamy ricotta sauce and topped with roasted butternut squash tossed in Italian seasoning, garlic, and spicy Calabrian chilis. It’s a delicious and cozy comfort food dinner for fall and winter!
Why you’ll love it
Ricotta sauce – If you’ve never used ricotta as a pasta sauce, you’re in for a treat! It’s creamy, cheesy, and effortless to throw together.
Whole wheat pasta – As far as pasta recipes go, this ricotta pasta is on the healthier side. DeLallo’s Whole Wheat Cavatappi Pasta is 100% whole wheat without any fillers or additives. Each serving contains 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The flavor is a little more nutty than traditional wheat pasta, but that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.
Roasted butternut squash – The roasted butternut squash is tossed in Italian seasoning, garlic, and DeLallo’s Calabrian Chili Paste. The combination is spicy, sweet, garlicy, and herbaceous. You’ll have a hard time not eating it all before it makes it’s way onto the pasta.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Butternut squash – Mildly sweet squash flavor, great for roasting.
- Shallots – A variety of onion. Has a sweeter and more delicate flavor than a yellow onion.
- Italian seasoning and garlic powder
- Olive oil
- DeLallo’s Calabrian Chili Paste – Small hot peppers that are crushed into a paste and packed in olive oil. It’s spicy so use more or less depending on how much spice you can tolerate.
- Ricotta cheese – Use whole milk ricotta for the creamiest texture.
- Lemon – the zest and juice brighten up the ricotta sauce.
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Cavatappi Pasta – This curly shaped noodle is perfect for holding the creamy ricotta sauce.
- Walnuts – Toasted walnuts add texture to the pasta dish.
- Parmesan cheese – Grated Parmigiano Reggiano adds a salty, nutty bite which pairs perfectly with the sweet and spicy butternut squash.
How to make butternut squash ricotta pasta
Roast the squash – On a sheet pan toss the cubed butternut squash and quartered shallots in the olive oil, Calabrian chili paste, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place it in the oven and bake at 400° F. for 15 minutes, then remove it and toss the squash around. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Make the ricotta sauce – If you have a food processor, I recommend placing the ricotta, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper in it and puréeing it. The texture gets super creamy. If you don’t have a food processor, just use a whisk to whip together the ingredients.
Cook the pasta – Cook the cavatappi until al dente. Be sure you don’t over-cook it as it will continue to cook when you add in the ricotta sauce. Before draining the pasta, ladle out a cup of the pasta water. You’ll use this for the sauce.
Assemble – Add the ricotta sauce to the cooked pasta along with a 1/3 cup of the pasta water to start with. Stir everything together and taste for seasoning. If the sauce seems thick add more pasta water. Remember the pasta will absorb the sauce the longer it sits so it’s best if it’s a little on the runny side to start with.
Pour the pasta into a serving bowl and top it with the roasted butternut squash and shallots, chopped walnuts, and parmesan cheese.
Variations and Substitutions
- Butternut squash can be swapped with any type of winter squash.
- Cavatappi can be replaced with any of DeLallo’s whole wheat pasta. Fusilli, penne, or farfalle would be great alternatives.
- Walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts or omitted if you have a nut allergy.
- Add fresh herbs such as chopped flat leaf parsley or basil.
What to serve with it
- Garlic bread
- Lemon parmesan shaved brussels sprouts salad
- Reserve some of the butternut squash and use it in this roasted butternut squash salad with cider vinaigrette.
- If you want to have some protein with the pasta fish, steak, or chicken would all be good. The baked parmesan chicken from this sheet pan parmesan crusted chicken and broccoli would be delicious.
More pasta recipes you’ll love
Did you make this butternut squash ricotta pasta? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced (about 5 cups)
- 2-3 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 1/2 tablespoons DeLallo extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon DeLallo Calabrian chili paste
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Cavatappi
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- Grated parmesan cheese for serving
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the butternut squash and shallots into a large bowl and add in the olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, Calabrian chili paste, salt and pepper. Toss everything together until it’s coated and then dump it onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
- Spread the vegetables out into a single layer and roast for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and toss the squash with a spatula. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until tender.
- While the squash roasts, bring the pasta to a boil in a large pot of salted water and cook until al dente. Before draining the pasta, ladle out 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Combine the ricotta, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. You can also use a blender or whisk it by hand, although it won’t be as creamy when done by hand.
- Add the drained pasta back into the pot along with the ricotta. Pour in about 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir together until the sauce is coating all of the pasta. If the sauce looks too thick, add in additional pasta water. Taste for seasoning.
- Pour the pasta into a serving bowl and top it with the roasted butternut squash and shallots, chopped walnuts, and Parmesan cheese.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 11gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.