Creamy Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta with Brown Butter and Pistachios

Creamy Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta with Brown Butter and Pistachios

This dish is so pretty. Truly truly is. It’s fun too and is always a great conversation piece. Is this my favourite butternut squash dish? No. Haha. I like it, and it’s a beautiful recipe and is totally fun to make and enjoy, but personally I find the dish to be overall okay in terms of flavour. If I were to pick – I would personally prefer Pasta al Pomodoro and Butternut Squash Soup separately. I would, however, make this dish again, as it’s quick, healthy, season appropriate and really beautiful!

I tried making the regular butternut alfredo recipe found online. Let’s be honest, many recipes are often very similar, calling for almost identical ingredients and amounts. Personally, I found it to fall flat in terms of flavour and too greasy.

Or use this type of noodles for more of a kid-friendly less messy version!

So I changed things up and used the same foundation for my dish as my Butternut Squash Soup, by adding brown butter, maple syrup, pistachios and very little cream, to avoid diluting the flavour. I found this preparation much more flavourful.

So if you are looking for a seasonal dish that is beautiful, warm and inviting as well as unique – check this one out.

Let’s get cooking.

Sorry, again too many pictures. But this dish is just so pretty!

Yields4 Servings

 1 butternut squash (around 2 - 21/2 lbs,) peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
 kosher salt
 olive oil
 2 tbsp butter
 1 medium onion, chopped
 2 celery stalks, chopped
 ½ cup stock (chicken or vegetable,) pus more as needed
 ¼ cup to 3/4 cups of heavy cream, half and half or alternatives (see Note below)
 Optional: pinch of cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, teaspoon or so of Maple Syrup
 12 oz pasta, such as fettuchini, Spaghetti, Gemelli, Rigatoni, etc.
 ½ cup Parmesan, plus more for garnish, if desired
 2 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley, for garnish

1

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the racks on the top third of the oven.

Peel the butternut squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Dry them well with paper towel (will help them caramelize better) and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, some kosher salt and scatter onto a rimmed aluminum baking sheet (do not use Parchment or it won't brown.)

Bake in preheated oven. It will take around 40-45 minutes (may take longer if you chopped it into larger chunks.) It should be very tender when tested with a fork, golden brown and caramelized on the outside. After 30 minutes of cooking, flip each squash chunk to caramelize the other side. Remove from the oven when ready.

2

While the squash bakes, let's make the base of the sauce.

Heat butter over medium heat in a large pot, swirling the pan constantly and stirring the butter with a wooden spoon. At first your butter will shimmer (sound of water evaporating,) then it will start to brown and you will see brown solids forming; your butter will become perfectly still and smell nutty - you just made brown butter. This whole process should take only about 1.5-2 minutes for this small amount of butter. Be sure to watch closely, stir constantly to avoid burning and scorching the pot.

3

As soon as your brown butter is ready, add onions and celery and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent, but not browned. Proceed to the next step immediately, or remove from heat and set aside until your squash is ready.

4

Set aside the remaining 1/3 of the squash as it will be used later as garnish to top your dish with.

Transfer 2/3 of the squash to the blender, add your sautéed onions and celery, stock and cream (or alternative) and process until very smooth. You may need to add a bit more stock in order to process the sauce.

5

Boil pasta in a pot of generously salted water in accordance to the package instruction to just under al dente. Do not overcook. Reserve pasta boiling water.

6

Transfer your sauce to a large pot over medium low heat and allow the mixture to simmer very gently for a couple of minutes over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta boiling water to loosen the sauce. Allow this to simmer (again on the lowest heat) until your pasta is ready. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

7

Using tongs, transfer al dente pasta to your sauce, reserving the pasta boiling water and mix it well, ensuring each pasta noodle is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle in the Parmesan and stir until it's melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. If using nutmeg, cinnamon and/or maple syrup - add at this time. Cook your pasta in the sauce for a minute or so on the lowest heat. Add some pasta water (a tablespoon at a time), if needed, to loosen the sauce into silky and saucy consistency.

8

Divide between 4 plates. Top with the reserved roasted squash, parsley, more Parmesan and freshly ground balck pepper, if desired. Drizzle some more maple syrup if desired.

Note:
9

My ideal choice would be about 1/2 cup and perhaps a bit more of heavy cream. However, you can absolutely and successfully use coconut milk or vegan sour cream instead. The amount doesn't matter as much, your sauce will be plenty creamy so anywhere between 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup will work.

Ingredients

 1 butternut squash (around 2 - 21/2 lbs,) peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
 kosher salt
 olive oil
 2 tbsp butter
 1 medium onion, chopped
 2 celery stalks, chopped
 ½ cup stock (chicken or vegetable,) pus more as needed
 ¼ cup to 3/4 cups of heavy cream, half and half or alternatives (see Note below)
 Optional: pinch of cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, teaspoon or so of Maple Syrup
 12 oz pasta, such as fettuchini, Spaghetti, Gemelli, Rigatoni, etc.
 ½ cup Parmesan, plus more for garnish, if desired
 2 tbsp chopped fresh Parsley, for garnish

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the racks on the top third of the oven.

Peel the butternut squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Dry them well with paper towel (will help them caramelize better) and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, some kosher salt and scatter onto a rimmed aluminum baking sheet (do not use Parchment or it won't brown.)

Bake in preheated oven. It will take around 40-45 minutes (may take longer if you chopped it into larger chunks.) It should be very tender when tested with a fork, golden brown and caramelized on the outside. After 30 minutes of cooking, flip each squash chunk to caramelize the other side. Remove from the oven when ready.

2

While the squash bakes, let's make the base of the sauce.

Heat butter over medium heat in a large pot, swirling the pan constantly and stirring the butter with a wooden spoon. At first your butter will shimmer (sound of water evaporating,) then it will start to brown and you will see brown solids forming; your butter will become perfectly still and smell nutty - you just made brown butter. This whole process should take only about 1.5-2 minutes for this small amount of butter. Be sure to watch closely, stir constantly to avoid burning and scorching the pot.

3

As soon as your brown butter is ready, add onions and celery and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent, but not browned. Proceed to the next step immediately, or remove from heat and set aside until your squash is ready.

4

Set aside the remaining 1/3 of the squash as it will be used later as garnish to top your dish with.

Transfer 2/3 of the squash to the blender, add your sautéed onions and celery, stock and cream (or alternative) and process until very smooth. You may need to add a bit more stock in order to process the sauce.

5

Boil pasta in a pot of generously salted water in accordance to the package instruction to just under al dente. Do not overcook. Reserve pasta boiling water.

6

Transfer your sauce to a large pot over medium low heat and allow the mixture to simmer very gently for a couple of minutes over the lowest heat, stirring occasionally. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta boiling water to loosen the sauce. Allow this to simmer (again on the lowest heat) until your pasta is ready. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

7

Using tongs, transfer al dente pasta to your sauce, reserving the pasta boiling water and mix it well, ensuring each pasta noodle is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle in the Parmesan and stir until it's melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. If using nutmeg, cinnamon and/or maple syrup - add at this time. Cook your pasta in the sauce for a minute or so on the lowest heat. Add some pasta water (a tablespoon at a time), if needed, to loosen the sauce into silky and saucy consistency.

8

Divide between 4 plates. Top with the reserved roasted squash, parsley, more Parmesan and freshly ground balck pepper, if desired. Drizzle some more maple syrup if desired.

Note:
9

My ideal choice would be about 1/2 cup and perhaps a bit more of heavy cream. However, you can absolutely and successfully use coconut milk or vegan sour cream instead. The amount doesn't matter as much, your sauce will be plenty creamy so anywhere between 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup will work.

Butternut Squash Alfredo

Make it Vegan and Dairy-Free: Do not use cream. Use coconut milk or vegan sour cream instead. If you are using Vegan sour cream, stir it in later, after you add the pasta. Do not use butter. Simply heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a pan and proceed to cooking onions and celery as per Step 2. Be sure to use vegetable and not chicken stock for Vegan option. Do not use Parmesan, but feel free to sprinkle Vegan cheese on top of the dish.

Make it Gluten-Free: use Gluten-Free noodles instead of regular ones. Ensure your stock is Gluten-free.

Happens to be Vegetarian: as long as you use vegetable stock and not chicken stock.

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