This roasted butternut squash pasta is Fall in a bowl! with roasted butternut squash, pancetta, sage, walnuts and Pecorino cheese, all combined with hearty rigatoni pasta. Easy enough for a weeknight meal, too!

roasted butternut squash pasta in bowl

If there is such as thing as the perfect Fall pasta, this might just be it! This roasted butternut pasta is packed with such great flavours and textures, with the addition of walnuts, pancetta and pecorino cheese.

What you’ll need

roasted butternut squash pasta ingredients

And a few notes about the key ingredients …

Butternut Squash – if you can find pre-cubed fresh butternut squash, that is ideal. If not, you’ll need to cut up a whole butternut squash. I don’t recommend frozen butternut squash, as it doesn’t roast up as well (tends to get mushy).

Rigatoni – I think this sauce is well suited to a hearty pasta like rigatoni, but you could also use penne here or any short pasta you have or prefer.

Pancetta – look for diced pancetta in with the packaged deli meats. You could also use bacon, but as it will render off more fat, be sure to remove some of the fat from the pan to avoid an overly greasy dish. Finally, I feel like crumbled Italian sauce (removed from the casing) would also work nicely in this dish.

Sage – fresh sage is specified, for best results. In a pinch, if you want the flavour and don’t have fresh sage, you can add dried sage leaves to taste.

White wine – if you don’t have or prefer not to use wine, simply omit and add more broth instead.

Walnuts – slightly bitter walnuts are the perfect foil for the other flavours going on in this pasta, so I highly recommend using them.

Pecorino Cheese – ideally, pecorino is a great choice here, but freshly grated Parmesan is fine, as well.

Step-by-step photos

  1. Add cubed butternut squash to a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes.
  2. Start pasta cooking in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
  3. Melt butter in a skillet and cook the pancetta until browned.
  4. Add shallots and sage leaves to skillet.
  5. Add roasted butternut squash to the skillet.
  6. Add wine and chicken broth to the skillet and simmer until reduced.
  7. Add cooked pasta to the skillet.
  8. Add walnuts to the skillet.
  9. Add pecorino cheese to the sauce.
  10. Finish the sauce with a bit of heavy cream, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe Video

Recipe tips

Sage. I love it to a point, but too much and it just overpowers a dish for me. So before you start this recipe, decide how much you love (or don’t completely love) sage and adjust the amount you use accordingly.

You can roast off the butternut squash ahead, to save time at mealtime. Simply cool and refrigerate.

roasted butternut squash pasta in bowl

What to serve with Butternut Squash Pasta

All this pasta would need is a green vegetable on the side, such as broccoli, broccolini, green beans or Brussels sprouts.

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roasted butternut squash pasta in bowl

Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta

This roasted butternut squash pasta is Fall in a bowl! with roasted butternut squash, pancetta, sage, walnuts and Pecorino cheese, all combined with hearty rigatoni pasta. Easy enough for a weeknight meal, too!
5 stars from 5 ratings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 5 servings


  • 4 cups fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (*See Note 1 below)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz pancetta, diced (or bacon), about 1/2 cup
  • 4-8 fresh sage leaves, torn (*see Note 2 below)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white wine, (or use a splash more chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 10 oz rigatoni pasta, or penne or other short pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Pecorino cheese, grated (or Parmesan), plus more for serving
  • 1/4-1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350F (not fan assisted). Cube the butternut squash and scatter onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in pre-heated oven until the squash is tender, but still holds its shape, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spatula to loosen the squash from the pan, then set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, salt generously, then add the pasta to cook to al dente.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 Tablespoon butter and olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes. (*If using bacon, remove some of the excess fat from the pan before proceeding).
  • Add the sage leaves and shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring, another 2-3 minutes or until the shallots start to brown. Add the roasted butternut squash and cook, stirring another 1-2 minutes. Add the white wine and allow to simmer with the squash for about 2 minutes, then add the chicken broth. Simmer another 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm until the pasta is cooked.
  • When the pasta is ready, transfer the pasta from the pot directly to the skillet using a spider strainer or large slotted spoon, reserving the pasta water. Increase the under the skillet heat to medium. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, the walnuts, pecorino and 2 Tablespoons butter. Season with some salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Drizzle in the cream, if using. Simmer a few minutes to thicken the sauce, or if the skillet is too dry, add some of the pasta cooking water to the skillet to loosen.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with additional Pecorino cheese.


Note 1: Frozen butternut squash is not recommended, as it tends to get mushy when roasted. If you can find pre-cubed fresh butternut squash, that is ideal. Otherwise, peel a small butternut squash, then I like to microwave it whole for 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool a bit, then cut into slices and cube. It makes cutting much easier!
Note 2: Sage can be a powerful flavour, so adjust the amount of sage to your taste and how much you enjoy that flavour. I find 4-5 fresh sage leaves is plenty, for my taste. I do recommend fresh sage leaves, but if you have everything except the sage, you can certainly use dried sage leaves to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there). 
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Pasta
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 590kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 193mg, Potassium: 670mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 12313IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 113mg, Iron: 2mg
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