Rich and nutty brown butter sage sauce tossed with tender butternut squash pasta, adorably shaped like pumpkins. This simple, yet flavorful pasta dish is perfect for easy weeknight meals the whole family will love.
Puppies? Adorable. Cat videos? Hilarious. Butternut squash pasta shaped like little pumpkins? Delicious and swoon-worthy.
What’s making us ‘awwww’ over food….well in this house it’s these butternut squash pasta tossed in brown butter sage. But we’re also crooning for it because the WHOLE family loved it. We’re talking the 1 year old, the 4 year old and mom and dad. A complete pasta night win that took less than 30 minutes to put together. Praise.
Why is that pasta shaped like pumpkins?
It’s actually a pasta shape! Like you have spaghetti, rigatoni and cavatappi; zucchette is a pumpkin shaped pasta. These adorable pumpkin butts (as we started calling them in our house) are made by Trader Joe’s (because of course they’re behind something cute and tasty) and achieve this brilliant hue from a combination of paprika and butternut squash.
Butternut squash laced, pumpkin shaped pasta. Buckle your seatbelts because this train of Autumnal food goodness is about to leave the station.
WHERE CAN I FIND BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA?
If you’re not up to the floury challenge of making your own, these butternut squash pasta zucchettes are from Trader Joe’s. If TJs aren’t available near you, you can snag a bag of these pumpkin shaped cuties online.
You could also check in with your local fresh pasta shops to see if they have any in stock.
If you wanted to take the low carb route, you could 100% spiralize a butternut squash and use the veggie noodles in place of the pasta.
How to make brown butter sauce
Brown butter sauce is an awesome, simple sauce perfect when you want to let the shape and/or color of a pasta shine but still pack on great flavor.
Slow cooking the butter over steady heat does a few things that lead to heavenly brown butter. It allows water in the butter to evaporate, the milk solids to deeply caramelize, and develop a nutty, almost caramel flavor.
But all that goodness does come at a price…this is one sauce you have to watch in the pan. That brown butter can go from epic to burnt really fast. But that’s not going to happen to you because you’re headed into this recipe with a few helpful hints up your sleeve.
TIPS FOR MAKING BROWN BUTTER
Minimal ingredients, just a few tricks to get it right the first time.
- Use a light colored pan so you can accurately judge the color of the butter as it cooks. I love my Le Creuset braiser in white, but stainless steel is a great option too!
- If your heat is too high, it’s way too easy to burn. Your best bet is to cook over medium to medium-low heat. If you feel like things are browning too quickly, you can add a few splashed of pasta water to the sauce to slow down the cooking.
- Cut the butter into smaller, uniform pieces. I know it’s tempting to throw that whole stick in the pan, but cutting it into even pieces will allow all the butter to cook at the same temperature.
- You’ve got to move it, move it. (Sorry, we just watched Madagascar.) But no, really, you need to stir this sauce as it cooks. Mostly so you can see the color of the butter, but also to keep any fats from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When you’re done, BE DONE. Remove the pan from the burner because those suckers are still hot even after you turn it off. If your pasta isn’t done cooking yet, you might want to consider moving the sauce to another pan or container so it doesn’t continue to cook (and burn!) in the pan.
- For this recipe, add the sage just before the butter is finished. Just about when it starts to foam is the perfect time to add it.
Are we ready for delicious fall themed eats yet? I am, the kids are and we’d love for you to join us!
Butternut Squash Pasta with Brown Butter Sage
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 18 sage leaves roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 14 ounce bag Trader Joe's Fall Zucchette Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water comes to a boil, make your sauce.
- Cut the butter into small, uniform pieces. Heat a stainless steel or light colored pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, stirring very often. The milk fats in the butter will begin to darken (about 3 to 5 minutes).
- As the butter cooks it will start to foam (about 2 to 3 minutes), use a spatula or wooden spoon to drag through the butter to check the color. When the butter foams, add the sage, it may pop a little if there is any moisture. Continue to cook the sage, constantly stirring, until it is dark green (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- Stir in the fresh grated nutmeg and salt. Remove from the heat.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, before draining remove 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water and set aside. Add the hot pasta and apple cider vinegar to the brown butter sage sauce and toss with parmesan cheese. The pasta with absorb a bit brown butter sage sauce, if you'd like it a bit more saucy adjust by adding a little starchy pasta water at a time until it's a consistency you like.
- Serve immediately and top with an extra sprinkle parmesan cheese.
- Use a light colored pan so you can accurately judge the color of the butter as it cooks.
- Cook over medium to medium-low heat. If you feel like things are browning too quickly, you can add a few splashed of pasta water to the sauce to slow down the cooking.
- Cut the butter into smaller, uniform pieces to allow all the butter to cook at the same temperature.
- You need to stir this sauce as it cooks so you can see the color of the butter, and to keep any fats from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When you're done, BE DONE. Remove the pan from the burner. If your pasta isn't done cooking yet, you might want to consider moving the sauce to another pan or container so it doesn't continue to cook (and burn!) in the pan.
And if you’re loving this butternut pasta, you might want to give this butternut ravioli a go. It’s draped in sweet and creamy marsala cream sauce with caramelized onions and dried cranberries.