One word to describe this recipe? GENIUS. Okay, and glorious, luxurious, creamy, cheesy, all of the things.
A few weeks ago an idea popped into my head: what if I could cook pasta using one of my favorite soups? Turns out a soup and broth base makes for an incredibly easy pasta bake loaded with rich brown butter, herbs, and melty cheese.
Thus, this wonderful brown butter, ricotta & butternut squash baked bucatini was born! My favorite part about this recipe (besides the amazing fall flavors) is how easy it is to make. You literally add uncooked bucatini to your pan (yes, uncooked!), layer in the veggies and spices, pour in creamy butternut squash soup and broth, and cheese it to your hearts desire.
I couldn’t stop sneaking bites after I tested it out and my entire family gobbled it right up. This is guaranteed to be one of your new favorite fall dinners, and might just make the perfect unique holiday main dish, too!
Everything you’ll need to make this butternut squash baked bucatini
Tender pasta, creamy butternut squash, herbs, spices, and layers of deliciously melty cheese. This pasta bake truly has it all. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Butter: oh yeah, we’re browning the butter, baby! Browned butter gets stirred right into the pasta before baking. You’ll also need some butter for the bread crumb topping.
- Pasta: I love using bucatini in this recipe because the noodles are a little thicker than spaghetti. Bucatini noodles are also hollow, so you get extra saucy goodness in each bite.
- Veggies & herbs: you’ll need fresh garlic, yellow onion, fresh sage, thyme, delicious cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, plus some red pepper flakes (if you like a little heat).
- Butternut squash: we’re actually stirring butternut squash SOUP into this pasta dish to help cook it and give it that delicious fall flavor! I used Pacific Foods Creamy Butternut Squash Soup and it was perfect.
- Broth: you’ll also need vegetable broth or water to help the pasta cook while it bakes.
- Sweetener: a little brown sugar or pure maple syrup brings out the sweetness of the butternut squash soup.
- Cheese: this is where things get real good. We’re adding ricotta cheese along with mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese for lots of cheesy flavor (and an epic cheese pull opportunity). I also like adding a little parmesan for saltiness. See below for other fun options!
- For the bread crumbs: you’ll need butter, sage leaves, panko bread crumbs, and salt for the toasty, herby bread crumb topping.
Can I make it gluten free?
Customize this baked butternut squash pasta
There are seriously endless ways to make this baked butternut squash bucatini your own! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Add veggies. For a boost of veggies, I recommend stirring in fresh spinach, kale, or even sauteéd mushrooms when you fold the cheese in.
- Try a protein. You could also fold in spicy Italian sausage, chicken sausage, cooked, chopped bacon, or even cooked, shredded chicken (or leftover turkey!). Feel free to serve these on the side, too, of course.
- Pick your cheese. I love the mix of mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, but gouda or spicy cheddar would be fabulous!
- Choose your pasta shape. As I mentioned, I chose bucatini because the shape is perfect for sopping up all of the sauce and cheese, but you can have fun with other shapes like fusilli al buco, or shorter pastas like ziti, cavatappi, rigatoni, etc.
How to brown butter
The brown butter adds the most incredible, rich, slightly nutty flavor to this butternut squash pasta bake and is easier to make than you think! Get all of my tips and tricks for browning butter in this post and get ready to add it to literally everything.
Butternut squash baked bucatini made in one pan
- Brown the butter. Start by browning the butter in a medium pan on the stovetop. Once it gives off that delicious nutty aroma (and begins to brown) remove it from the heat and set it aside.
- Prep the pasta. Add the uncooked (yes, uncooked!) bucatini to a 9×13-inch baking dish with veggies and herbs. Pour the cooled brown butter into the pan and gently toss everything together.
- Make the sauce. Whisk together the butternut squash soup, broth, ricotta, and brown sugar, then pour it over the pasta along with the cozy spices and toss to evenly coat it.
- Bake, then cheese. Bake the pasta uncovered for 30 minutes, and while it’s baking, stir together the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Remove the pasta from the oven, stir in some of the cheese mixture, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake it again until it’s slightly golden on top, then add parmesan if you’d like.
- Make the bread crumbs. Melt butter in your original pan, then fry up those fresh sage leaves. Stir in the panko bread crumbs and salt until everything is nice and golden.
- Top & devour. Serve the pasta bake and top with the toasted sage bread crumbs, extra red pepper flakes, and flaky sea salt if you’d like!
What to serve with this baked butternut squash bucatini
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store any leftover butternut squash pasta bake in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. To reheat simply do so in a microwave safe dish with a splash of broth or water.
- To freeze: add leftover bucatini to reusable freezer-friendly bags or airtight glass containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let the pasta bake thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the microwave.
More pasta recipes you’ll love
Get all of my pasta recipes here!
I hope you love this butternut squash baked bucatini! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Brown Butter, Ricotta & Butternut Squash Baked Bucatini
Delicious butternut squash baked bucatini with rich brown butter, creamy ricotta, and layers of melted cheese. This easy baked butternut squash pasta cooks all in one pan and is great for adding your favorite veggies or proteins. Top with toasted sage bread crumbs and enjoy the perfect fall-inspired pasta bake!
- For the pasta:
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 pound bucatini
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional: ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups pre-made butternut squash soup (I used Pacific Foods Creamy Butternut Squash Soup)
- 2 ½ cups vegetarian broth (or sub water)
- ½ heaping cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (or sub gouda)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or sub gouda or more mozzarella)
- Optional: ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- For the sage breadcrumbs:
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 sage leaves, very finely chopped
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Brown the butter: Place a medium pan over medium heat and add 6 tablespoons butter. The butter will begin to melt, crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you stir constantly during this process. After about 5 minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan, this usually happens right when it foams. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Set aside.
Prepare pasta dish: Add uncooked bucatini, garlic, onions, sage, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using) to a 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour cooled brown butter over the pasta, making sure to scrape any excess bits off the button of the pan, then use your hands or tongs to toss the pasta and veggies with the brown butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash soup, broth, ricotta and brown sugar (or maple syrup), cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Pour over the pasta and toss again using tongs to evenly coat the pasta with the sauce.
In a medium bowl, stir together mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes then remove from the oven, and stir ½ cup of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1 ½ cups cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Bake again for 20-25 more minutes until the top is slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Make the toasted sage breadcrumbs: In the same medium nonstick pan you used earlier, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and place over medium heat. Once the butter begins to melt, add in the sage leaves and fry until nice and crispy, about 2 to 4 minutes. After the sage is nice and crispy, add in the panko breadcrumbs and salt, stirring frequently until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden brown, about 2 to 4 more minutes.
Serve pasta immediately. Top with toasted sage breadcrumbs and extra red pepper flakes & a pinch of flaky sea salt, if desired. Serves 6-8.
See the full post for tips, tricks & ways to customize this pasta bake!
Serving: 1servingCalories: 498calCarbohydrates: 57.1gProtein: 16.7gFat: 22.8gSaturated Fat: 13.7gFiber: 3.1gSugar: 5g