Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Penne Pasta

I’ve been looking forward to this week for awhile now, because I get to see my good friend Susie not once, but twice, in two different cities! Susie is one of my best friends from college. We initially bonded as partners in organic chemistry lab, where we amused ourselves (and horrified our TA) by bringing in a CD player and dancing along to Salt-N-Pepa in the middle of lab. She’s been my favorite person to hit the dance floor with ever since! Her hubby Brian had business in Boston earlier this week and she tagged along, so we got to have dinner with them at Giacomo’s in the North End, and then Susie and I had lunch the next day and she checked out our lab. And, to top things off, we’re both going to a wedding this weekend in Chicago, where we still can’t wait to hit the dance floor, 10 years later!

We usually don’t gravitate towards Italian restaurants, since I can cook many Italian favorites decently at home, but Giacomo’s specializes in seafood and everything there is unique and incredible! They don’t take reservations, so you have to wait in line, but it’s so worth it – I always have to stop myself from licking the plate! One of my favorite dishes is an addicting butternut squash ravioli served with a mascarpone cream sauce and asparagus. I was really inspired by the butternut squash and pasta pairing, but wanted to lighten things up a bit, so I made a sauce of roasted butternut squash, spinach, buttermilk, and rosemary, and then tossed it with whole wheat pasta. Mmmm, this was a great way to enjoy butternut squash!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Penne Pasta
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Use a pastry brush to evenly brush flesh side of the squash halves with 1 teaspoon olive oil and place flesh side down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400˚F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Let squash cool for 10 minutes. Remove flesh from the squash halves with a spoon and mash with a fork until smooth (my yield was 2 cups).

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander, return it to the pot, and keep warm.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet and cook shallots for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add spinach and roasted mashed butternut squash to the pan. Stir in buttermilk, milk, rosemary, and salt and stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix pasta and sauce until the sauce evenly coats all the ingredients. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over each serving. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition: 403 calories, 6.8g fat, 12.6g fiber, 19.1g protein per serving
Cost: $1.05 per serving

37 Responses to Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Penne Pasta

  1. so not only is this quite lovely to behold (i love orange and green together), but it sounds quite tasty to boot! your use of mashed squash is unique and very appealing. :)

  2. So awesome you have that relationship from college! I will be so sad when all of my friends and I have to part ways–but then it makes getting together even that much better! This recipe sounds AMAZING! I may sub spaghetti squash for the actual noodles–thanks!

  3. This pasta looks like something I would love! It’s great to get inspiration from your favorite dishes at restaurants and recreate them at home. I love catching up with old friends, especially the kind that make it seem like no time has passed at all :)

  4. SO exciting that you got to hang out with your friend. AND that you got to share some good food while doing so. Some of my best memories with my friends are of meals that we ate together. The ravioli that you describe sounds amazing but this dish that you created is also incredible. I will have to add it to my butternut squash repertoire! Love the buttermilk and rosemary combo.

  5. Hmmm, pasta is something I could eat everyday. I love this recipe – it looks delicious and it’s a great way to get in those veggies. I’ve never been to Giacomo’s…can you believe? But I think I need to go! I’m so glad that you’ve kept in touch with Susie; you sound like the best of friends. It’s great when you can connect with someone and have that relationship carry over for years and years!

  6. Adorable photos! I lived above Giacomo’s for a couple of years. Every night the waiting line would stretch across the front of our building. Man, the looks I’d get just trying to exit — I had to swear I wasn’t cutting the line just to step out my door. 😉 The dish that inspires your scrumptious recipe was my absolute favorite order. I appreciate your lighter version though. Have fun in Chicago!

  7. whaddya know, I have buttermilk in my fridge!! this looks fabulous. i haven’t tried giacomo’s, but i guess i will have to 😉 Have a fabulous time in Chicago!!!!

  8. Well you know what they say about friends in organic chemistry lab… they get “bonded” together. Ha get it? Ya know atoms and… ah nevermind, it’s early in the morning :)

    I’ve been seeing alot of pasta and squash stuff going on lately. I’m going to have to give in and rock with it :)

  9. This looks delicious, really! Love your site, just came across it! Your pumpkin truffles are too cute, I actually just made some last week and posted about them, although they are not pumpkin filled…Wish I had seen yours earlier, might have done something like that!
    Great blog!

  10. Thanks everyone!

    Nicole and Shannon – You have to go, seriously go tonight, it’s so good :)

    Adam – Haha :)

    My Year on the Grill – Yay!! You’ve made my day!

  11. This is fantastic! My family has always turned their noses up at all the orange veggies, even sweet potatoes. When I made this, they tried it begrudgingly, and LOVED IT. They are even asking for it! I would serve it as a side (before adding the milk) or with the pasta, as the “sauce”. It reheats so well too. I’m you newest fan!

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