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  • Megan

one-pot butternut squash pasta

Updated: May 27, 2023

In this dish:

- butternut squash

- garlic

- kale

- olive oil

- salt and pepper

- red pepper flakes

- dry pasta

- water

- balsamic vinegar

- parmesan

We’ve entered late fall.

The leaves are grounded, apples picked, pumpkins carved, and Halloween decorations put away. We're now in that quiet beat of stillness before the holiday season has us doing all the things again.


Late fall is good. Dusk falls early, inviting us to simplify our evenings. I gratefully accept the invitation, filling the hours between work and bed with making dinner, eating dinner, and not much else (well, TV—there’s always TV).

I started making this squash pasta about seven years ago, around this same time of year. I’d just moved to Chicago, and I’d been put in touch with a gregarious theater actor who, knowing I was a fresh transplant with zero connections, kindly invited me over for croissants and tea. I sat in her kitchen and watched her cut up a squash and cook it on the stove before adding dry noodles and water to the same pot. Wild! I’d never seen such a thing. Soon after I tried it myself, and I was hooked.

The squash starts to break down as it cooks with the pasta, coating the noodles in a butternut sheen. With the addition of garlic, red pepper flakes, kale, and a pile of parm, it’s a hearty dish that fills you, assuring you that though it’s dark outside, life—slow and lamplit—beats on inside.


12 ounces (about 2.5 cups) cubed squash

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 ribs kale (about two packed cups), chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

8 ounces pasta (use a hardy noodle, like penne or fusilli)

2 cups water

balsamic vinegar

½ cup shredded parmesan


1. In a pot, Dutch oven, or deep pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper, and let it cook for a couple minutes.

2. Add the garlic and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes to the pot. Stir and let cook for another couple of minutes.

3. Dump in the dried pasta and water and give everything a stir. Season with more salt. Then cover and turn the heat up to medium high to bring the water to a boil.

4. When the water comes to a boil, take the lid off and stir. With the heat back at medium to keep the boil rolling, check on the noodles every few minutes to stir, season with salt, and re-cover.

5. Once most of the water has cooked off, throw the kale into the pot. Top it with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Cover the pot for about a minute to wilt the greens.

6. Stir the wilted greens into the cooked squash and pasta; then stir in the parm.

7. Plate that pasta and top with more shredded parm and black pepper.

Pour some wine, plop down on the couch, and let this pasta (and, erm, a couple episodes of Schitt's Creek) be the evening's main act.


Oct 20, 2021

A favorite Fall Dinner!!😋


Aruna Rangarajan
Aruna Rangarajan
Nov 10, 2020

I love this and your other recipes!! So warm and inviting:)

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