Rotini With Butternut-Sage Sauce


Today, our month of easy meals continues with a sweet and savory pasta from Alexandra of Alexandra’s Kitchen. This quick recipe features the ultimate combination of our favorite fall flavors…

Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce
by Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen

This recipe takes no time to throw together. After butter infuses with fresh sage, which immediately evokes the approaching holiday season, cubes of butternut squash simmer with onion and water. In no time, the squash is ready to be puréed and tossed with rotini, some freshly grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Every time I make this pasta I am astounded by its simplicity. Without stock or cream, this silky smooth sauce tastes rich and creamy, evidence of the union of squash, butter and sage. Tailor this recipe to your liking or make it just as it is — it’s perfect this time of year.

Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce

Recipe: Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet

You’ll need:

1 lb (about) peeled butternut squash pieces
1 small onion, diced
4 tbsp unsalted butter
A small bunch of fresh sage, unchopped
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
1 lb rotini

Heat butter in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until foam subsides, then add the bundle of sage and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add cubed squash, diced onion, water, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until squash is very tender and water has reduced considerably, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the squash pieces.

Extract what is left of the bundle you added to the pot — a few small leaves remaining in the squash mixture is fine. If you have an emersion blender, purée mixture right in pot. If you don’t, transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Add a grating of fresh nutmeg, if you’d like. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it is too thin, simmer over low heat until it thickens.

While squash mixture simmers, cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water with a large pinch of kosher salt until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

Place pasta in a serving bowl. Toss with enough butternut-sage sauce to coat nicely. If necessary, add a little bit of the reserved cooking water to thin it out. Serve pasta with cheese. If you have extra sauce, store it in the fridge for a later date. The sauce thickens as it sits, so on subsequent uses, it will most likely be necessary to use the reserved cooking liquid to thin out.

Rotini with Butternut-Sage Sauce

Thank you so much, Alexandra! This pasta looks amazing.

P.S. More recipes, including pumpkin mac n’ cheese and rotini with blue cheese and spinach.

(Recipe and photos by Alexandra Stafford. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)

  1. Carla says...

    All I have to say is ” WOW WOW WOW” fantastic dish!! I altered it a bit, omitting the salt and instead of water I used homemade no sodium) vegetable stock and added Portobello mushroom stems chopped, and for a little spice I put in a dash of crushed red pepper!!
    Dish it out its all good for you !!!!

  2. Jeanine Dodson says...

    Regarding the handling of a whole butternut squash, I found that if I poke a few wholes in the whole squash with a metal skewer and put it in the microwave for a few minutes, it becomes softer and much easier to cut in half. Roasting is usually my preferred way to prepare it. Give the microwave trick a try. I shall try this recipe and the sooner the better. I’ve been looking at the pot of fresh sage on my deck outdoors and I’m glad to have found this recipe. I’ll bet it will be a winner.

  3. Margaret says...

    This was a great dish! I halved the butter and used dried herbs instead of fresh and it was still delicious! This is a keeper.

  4. Lauren P. says...

    A belated THANK YOU for sharing this recipe. So delicious, and the leftover “sauce” made a killer soup the next day :D

  5. I just have to tell you—I bookmarked this recipe and finally made it last night. YUM!! We added sausage to make it a little heartier and this dish was incredible. Curling up with a bowl and a glass of wine was just the thing for an October night and we felt so impressed with ourselves that we made homemade butternut sage sauce :)

  6. Sage really does evoke that sense of the holidays, doesn’t it? This sounds fabulous!

  7. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I went home last night and made this for dinner, it was absolutely amazing! I have already stored the recipe and it will become a go-to in my home. Even my (meat-eater) husband approved it!

  8. Shannon says...

    Roast the squash with or without the onions. Seriously, just cut it in half and scoop the seeds out. Or don’t, and just throw the whole squash on a pan and roast it until it’s soft… But don’t spend time and energy peeling and chopping squash. And it may (or may not, depending on your knife skills!) take a little longer but who cares when it’s no work at all? You could even roast it the night before, or that morning before work. So much easier, and just as tasty.

  9. I love incorporating butternut squash into foods! Onetime, friends and I made butternut squash ravioli. I must try this, too.

  10. This sounds SO tasty!

  11. Mary says...

    Sent this to my hubby today and when I got home from yoga he had it waiting on the stove! Delicious and very fall! We will make again soon, highly recommended.

  12. Alice Quin says...

    Top photo makes me instantly starving. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. oh YUM! Can’t wait to try this. Fall recipes are my favorite.

  14. miam, miam!! this looks so delish.

  15. Madie says...

    I think I’ll make this tonight! And add bacon. :)

  16. Looks delicious!

  17. That sauce looks so smooth and amazing! Definitely adding this recipe to my “make soon” list.

  18. This reminds me – now that it is fall, I can start cooking and baking with nutmeg again! Nutmeg is a very fall and winter oriented scent and flavor for me. Squash also seems like it’s going to take a long time to bake or cook, but this really does sounds easy and pretty quick!

  19. Cynthia says...

    This sounds similar to the butternut squash soup my husband makes, which is really yummy. We also cook the squash in the microwave and serve with butter, and I’ve heard of it being used in place of pumpkin in pies. After all, pumpkins are members of the squash family. Some of the yummiest dishes are the very simple ones.

  20. Janine says...

    I’m going to try this but i think ill roast the squash and then scoop it out. I can barely cut a butternut squash in half nevermind cut it in little chunks. Looks delicious

    • Ditto! This was the problem I saw with the recipe :) but looks like a good meatless meal for friday.

    • You can buy pre-cubed squash, that’s what lazy old me is planning on doing ;)

    • I had my husband peel and cut the squash for me as I cannot cut it myself, but it was totally worth it! I thought about roasting it also but I wondered if it would change the flavors. I say pre-cut is the way to go (for next time!).

  21. What a great idea! Looks delicious! I recently shared a butternut squash soup that is exactly that, creamy and silky without cream. But making a sauce out of squash is new to me. I’ll be making it soon since I’m a squash fanatic! :) Thanks!


  22. Oh, this sounds perfect for the current season and looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  23. Yum! This looks incredible! I love the idea of butternut squash sauce on rotini. How could that not be amazing?!
    xx Sydney

  24. Nice recipe! And thanks for bringing this blog to my attention, happy to add it to my Feedly (as so many other blogs you featured:)).