Roasted Honeynut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Chard. Honeynut squash shines in this recipe in both the sauce and roasted pieces stirred into the pasta dish.
Honeynut squash is relatively new to me in the past few years, they seemed to have popped up and moved quickly to the top of fave winter squashes to eat. I love all the winter squashes from butternut to kabocha, acorn, delicata and more. Spaghetti squash is a fave as well.
The last few years since honeynut squash has become more popular, I have grabbed as many as I can when I see them for recipes like this pasta. They are so cute and such a nice flavor.
They are so similar to butternut squash with a sweeter, honey like flavor. These could easily be used in any recipe using butternut squash.
One easy weeknight meal that I will throw together often is a sausage pasta dish. I always have pork or chicken sausage in my freezer, either in links or in one pound packs.
I always have a variety of pasta shapes in my pantry from spaghetti, to penne to gnocchi. I love these Tortiglioni from Delallo, they're a fun shape that holds thicker sauces really well.
I always have a variety of greens such as chard ( also called Swiss Chard), kale, arugula or spinach and vegetables such as zucchini to add in to pasta sauces. Wilted greens are so great in pasta dishes, and I get in an extra serving of veg this way.
We grow several varieties of shard in our garden, it is amazing how fast it grows and how big it can get. Ours are just baby plants right now, so I grabbed two bunches of rainbow chard from the market.
I love using chard in pastas, salads, sautéing for tacos etc. Anytime I find a new Swiss chard recipe I am all for it.
To prep the chard, pull the leaves off the thick stems, rinse and pat dry, then slice widthwise. Similar to how I cut the kale in my chopped kale salad recipe.
I love using shallots in pasta recipes and I always caramelize them first to get the most flavor out of them. I then deglaze the pan with a little white wine before adding in the pureed squash.
How to make honeynut squash pasta:
There are several parts to this recipe but they can be done at the same time to save time. The longest part is probably the prep of the squash and shallots. The rest is relatively fast.
- Roast the honeynut squash
- Cook the sausage and caramelize the shallots
- Cook the pasta - reserve a quart of pasta water for the sauce
All of these can be done at the same time to save time. It takes about 25-50 minutes to roast the squash, about 10 minutes for the sausage and about 20 for the shallots. I start the pasta water at the same time I am heating up the oven so once the squash is starting to roast I can add the pasta to the boiling water.
How to roast honeynut squash:
For this recipe I roast honeynut squash similar to how I roast butternut squash. Peeled, de-seeded, chopped into chunks, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper then roasted for about 25 minutes at 400 Deg F.
If I wasn't adding in chunks of the roasted honeynut squash into the dish but just making a sauce with it, I would just cut the squash in half, remove seeds, drizzle the cut halves with the oil and season then roast. Once roasted, scoop the squash out of the peel. It's a lot easier this way. Similar to how to roast butternut squash without peeling it.
Peeling the squash can be a little tedious, but when I make a recipe such as this one I do peel the squash. I love to use a Y peeler for this task and I always wear non-latex gloves to avoid "squash hands".
Half of the squash gets made into a pasta sauce the rest is stirred into the pasta towards the end of cooking the entire dish.
Honeynut squash before roasting and after. You can make this dish with roast butternut squash too if you can't find honeynut. Kaobocha squash would also work.
While the squash roasts, I cook the sausage and then caramelize the shallots in the same pan after I remove the cooked sausage. While this is happening I cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
I cook the pasta to a firm al-dente since it is finished in the pan with the rest of the ingredients and I don't want it falling apart when stirring. I save the pasta water to make the pasta sauce.
I save at least a quart of pasta water for the pasta sauce. I don't usually use all of it, but I like to have extra in case I want to thin the sauce a little more.
For this honeynut squash recipe you could use any pasta shape you like. I tend to go with a thicker tube noodle like these Tortiglioni from Delallo.
Any rigatoni or penne type shape would work great. I like this size and shape since they hold on to the thicker sauce really nicely.
I also add in my favorite secret umami ingredient to this pasta dish - fish sauce. Normally I use it just for tomato based sauces but it works so well with the sweetness of the squash. Totally optional ingredient, but I highly suggest it. Fish sauce is amazing.
A few more squash recipes and pasta recipes you might also enjoy:
A few more tips about this Roasted Honeynut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Chard recipe first:
- This is a simple pasta recipe but read through the instructions well first.
- Make sure you have all your items prepped and ready to go before cooking since several things are cooked at the same time
- Remove pasta water from the cooked pasta before you drain it. I ladle into a 4 quart glass measuring cup. The pasta water is part of the honeynut squash pasta sauce.
- You can roast the squash ahead of time if you like since half is made into the sauce and heated in the pan and the remaining is added into the dish to heat before serving.
- I used sweet Italian pork sausage for this, cut out of the casings and crumbled while cooked. If you prefer to use ground meat you can use either pork, chicken, turkey or lamb. You could also use half sausage half ground meat. Any combination will work. I like the hint of fennel seeds from the pork sausage, if you use anything else you could always add in some fennel seeds and an Italian herb blend to the meat as it is cooking.
- You could omit the meat to make it a vegetarian meal. To make it vegan use vegan pasta and vegetable broth. Omit the fish sauce - you could use mushroom powder in its place for that hit of umami. Swap out the parmesan cheese for vegan cheese.
- This is makes 6-8 servings. I rarely make servings for just 2 people since I am always cooking for a family of 4, and leftovers go with my husband to work so he doesn't have to worry about having to eat at his hospital cafeteria. Leftovers reheat well. You can also freeze, thaw in refrigerator and reheat.
- If you can't find honeynut squash feel free to substitute butternut, acorn or kabocha squash. I find acorn harder to peel out of these three, butternut the easiest to peel.
- 1 pound of dried pasta (454 g) - Tortiglioni, rigatoni, penne or other medium tube shaped pasta
- 3-4 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 3-4 pounds honey nut squash (5-6 honeynut squashes), peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds sweet Italian pork sausage (could also use chicken sausage, ground pork, chicken or lamb)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5-6 shallots, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 3-4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ cup white wine (120 ml)
- 1 quart reserved pasta water ( or 1 liter)
- 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable (240 ml)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- Red pepper flakes
- 1-2 bunches of chard, stems cut out, thinly sliced widthwise
Heat oven to 400 Deg F.
Set out a stock pot or large pot for pasta and fill with 6-8 quarts of water and add the kosher salt. Bring to a boil while the squash is roasting.
Place the cut squash pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat the squash, roast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown. Once browned and soft remove from the oven. Transfer half of the roasted squash to a blender.
While the squash is roasting make the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for firm al-dente texture. Remove at least 4 cups ( 1 quart) pasta water, then drain the pasta. Rinse quickly in cool water to stop the cooking and set aside in a strainer to drain.
Add 2 cups of the pasta water to the squash in the blender and blend until smooth. If the mixture is very thick add a little more water.
Also while the squash is roasting, heat up a large sauté pan or dutch oven with a little oil, then add the sausages. Break up into crumbles as you cook it. Once its fully cooked, about 10 minutes, remove the sausage to plate or bowl, return pan or dutch oven to heat, add a little more oil and then add the shallots.
Cook the shallots until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add in the wine and cook until reduced, 2-3 more minutes.
Add in the honeynut squash pasta sauce from the blender along with the cup of broth. Stir well. Add in the fish sauce and half of the parmesan cheese and stir. Next, add in the cooked, pasta and sausage until well covered with sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add in more of the reserved pasta water.
Finally, add in the chard and stir gently until wilted, just a few minutes, then add in the rest of the roasted squash and stir again until everything is heated through. If the sauce is still to thick add in a little more broth or reserved pasta water.
Divide amongst bowls and garnish with the remaining Parmesan and some red pepper flakes.
If it’s your first time making this recipe then make sure you read all of the information in the main post as it includes lots of additional tips, as well as the answers to some common questions.
If you have any further questions then do let me know in the comments and or email me [email protected] and I’ll do my best to help.
If you choose to make substitutions to the recipe that I have not tested yet please do so at your own risk. I cannot guarantee the same results if you change a lot of the ingredients or method. However, if any of your changes are successful I would love to hear about it and will add to my recipe notes for other readers to try as well.
Hope you enjoy this honeynut squash pasta recipe as much as we do. Let me know in the comments if you made it!