Fall is officially here, and I'm celebrating with a warm bowl of Butternut Squash and Sage Tortellini topped with crunchy roasted pepitas (that's just fancy for pumpkin seeds) and goat cheese. With the weather getting chillier, this is exactly the dinner I want to come home to on a late September evening.
Part of being a real person is planning ahead, and if you roast the butternut squash for this recipe ahead of time, you can have dinner on the table within 30 minutes of walking in the door. I roasted the squash in the oven on Sunday when I picked it up from the farm stand and stored it in a Tupperware in the fridge for a few days. When I came home, all I had to do was toss it in the blender with some olive oil and milk, whisk in the heavy cream, and it was ready. I cooked my tortellini while I was pulling the sauce together, and everything finished up at about the same time to sit down to a bowl of velvety butternut squash puree studded with salty, crispy sage leaves.
Even if you don't roast the squash ahead of time, the recipe is simple - it just takes some dedicated time to take that rock hard squash to a soft, roasted, caramelized puree. But trust me, it's worth it. I'm a huge fan of the butternut squash and sage combo, so I think there will definitely be a soup on the menu soon - Subscribe to get the recipe right when it's posted. In the meantime, Happy Fall!
Butternut Squash & Sage Tortellini
makes 2 servings
Prep (Active) Time: 30 minutes
Cooking (Inactive) Time: ~45 minutes for the squash, 10 minutes for the tortellini while that's cooking
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
*If you're making this on a weeknight, roast the squash ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Saves you tons of time - I did that and had dinner on the table in under half an hour!
- 1 small to medium-sized butternut squash
- 1 package tortellini
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream Substitute: coconut milk
- 1/2 cup milk Substitute: coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese plus more for topping *Optional
- 1 sprig of sage
- 1 tablespoon pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds, for crunch) *Optional
Dairy Free & Vegan: Substitute heavy cream & milk for coconut milk and leave out the cheese.
Gluten Free: Buy a gluten free pasta. Even if you can't find tortellini, another pasta shape would still be yummy!
ROAST THE SQUASH & COOK THE TORTELLINI
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and then roast one small to medium-sized butternut squash until tender. You can peel and cut it while raw (harder to do) or you can roast it whole, take it out after 20 minutes, cut the warm squash in half, and finish roasting it, scooping out the flesh later on. Cutting a huge, hard squash is hard to do and makes the likelihood of chopping off a finger much greater. Since you're pureeing the squash either way, go with roasting the tip of starting off whole and scooping out of the skin later- read exactly how here.
2. Once you get the squash in the oven, turn on the stovetop to medium heat and add a splash of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) to a pan. Once the olive oil has heated up, add the leaves of 1 sprig of sage (about 8-10 leaves, more or less is okay depending on your personal preference). Sautee the leaves in the oil until they are fragrant and slightly crispy. Set aside for later.
3. Once the water has boiled, throw in your 1 package of tortellini to cook until done, about 8-10 minutes. [Hint: the tortellini pop back up again in step 6].
MAKE THE SAUCE
4. Once the squash is roasted, add all of the squash (read: carefully scoop the flesh out of the super hot skin, if needed) to the blender with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and some salt and pepper (to taste). Blend until pureed.
5. Once the squash is pureed a bit, add in the 1/2 cup milk and blend to incorporate.
6. By now, the tortellini should be done. Drain it and keep it in the strainer for a second.
7. Pour the sauce from the blender into the (now empty) pan you cooked the tortellini in.
8. Turn the burner back on to medium-low heat and slowly whisk in the 1 cup heavy cream.
9. If you want, add 2 tablespoons goat cheese to the sauce and whisk to incorporate until the cheese melts in.
COMBINE & SERVE
10. Add your cooked tortellini back in to the saucepan with your butternut squash sauce.
11. Add the fried sage leaves from step 2 into the pan.
12. Cook to incorporate all the flavors for 3-5 minutes on medium low. Serve topped with pepitas and extra goat cheese.
Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients
LUNCH TOMORROW - Since all pasta, including tortellini, is sold in set portions (box, bag, etc.) this recipe makes two servings, great for bringing for lunch tomorrow. Plus, it's hard to find a tiny squash. You're going to want leftovers anyways -the sauce almost gets even tastier overnight, so you'll be dreaming of lunch all morning.
STORING - Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you're reheating at home, it will taste extra delicious if you reheat on the stove top (as will all pasta) - it's scientifically proven - by me, at least.
EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Any extra goat cheese is great in salads - especially spinach salads or with beets. If you have extra sage, turn it into a browned sage butter sauce and put it on anything...especially gnocchi or ravioli. Extra pepitas are a yummy snack in their own right but also add crunch to green salads and trail mixes!