If you think you’re looking at an ooey gooey cheese sauce, look again! That luscious coating is made from a nutrient-packed fall favorite, butternut squash, with sage and lemon to balance the squash’s sweetness. This recipe comes to us from registered dietitian Maria of Bean A Foodie.
3 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp. dried sage
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided in half
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 lb. spinach, finely chopped
8 oz. short cut pasta, like rigatoni or penne
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Boil water for pasta and cooking according to package directions. Save about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
Toss butternut squash with sage, 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast squash for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender and lightly golden brown.
While squash roasts, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add in diced onions and garlic. Saute for about 3-5 or until onions and garlic are just starting to get translucent.
In a high powered blender or food processor, place the roasted squash and onion mixture in the bowl. Blend on high until the squash is smooth. Add in the parmesan cheese, lemon juice and blend on high for another minute. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
At this point the sauce is probably somewhat thick. Slowly add in some of the vegetable stock, blending at the same time. Check frequently for consistency. You may or may not use all of the stock, depending on how thick or thin your sauce. If you want the sauce thinner (or if it thickens over time on the stove) thin out with the reserved pasta water.
Pour the butternut sauce back into the medium saute pan. Heat over low and add in the chopped spinach, stirring to combine. Cook over medium low until the spinach wilts — about 10 minutes. Again, if the sauce thickens, use some of the reserved pasta water to keep it at the consistency you like.
Toss in the hot cooked pasta with the butternut and spinach sauce. Toss to combine. Add more parmesan cheese if you’d like. Serve hot!