Creamy pasta with butternut squash, salty prosciutto, caramelized shallots, and crisp walnuts. Creamy pasta with butternut squash and prosciutto is the perfect fall pasta – creamy fettuccine gets a kick of flavor and texture with some extra ingredients. You will never believe this indulgent pasta is macro friendly.
Inspiration for this Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash and Prosciutto
This dish has an overall smoky flavor, yet subtle and creamy texture created by butternut squash – the rest of the ingredients are simple: pasta, prosciutto, shallots, and walnuts. When I wrote this recipe, I had been seeing all sorts of pastas made with sauces using butternut squash. Most recently, I saw a recipe from Food52 that caught my eye. When you puree butternut squash, it becomes a thick consistency that makes a decadent-tasting thick sauce for pasta. The consistency is similar to the consistency of a creamy mac and cheese. I knew I wanted to give it a shot for myself, which is how this recipe was born.
What you will need to make creamy pasta with butternut squash and prosciutto
- butternut squash
- olive oil spray
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- garlic powder
- cayenne pepper
- fat free half and half
- prosciutto di parma
- pasta, I used fettuccine
How to make this recipe
Cooking the butternut squash
When it comes to cooking butternut squash, the possibilities are really endless. I always take the easy way out, and buy the pre-cut ones they sell in the produce section. You can always buy a full squash, but I am always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen. Even though I love being in the kitchen, I love a good shortcut that will get me to my end product faster.
One small squash or a 20-oz package of cubed butternut squash will yield about 4 full cups. Roasting butternut squash is similar to roasting any other veggie. I use a high temperature oven (this time I used 450F), olive oil spray, and seasonings of choice.
Roasted butternut squash is the star of my Autumn Harvest Mason Jar Salads and boiled butternut squash is the star of my Healthy Butternut Squash Soup. When roasted, butternut squash gives you that sweet potato vibe that we all love. It’s a great substitute as a side dish or to bulk up meals when you don’t want to go the potato route.
For this recipe, I roasted the squash on a sheet pan with olive oil spray, kosher salt, garlic powder, ground nutmeg, fresh cracked pepper, and cayenne pepper. It gave the dish tons of flavor, plus a little kick on the back end, but not an overpowering amount of heat. If you are sensitive to pepper, you can omit the cayenne or kick it down to just a small sprinkle. Really, like most of my recipes, it’s all about making it work for you.
Making the creamy sauce
After the squash was roasted, I placed it into a blender with some fat free half and half and blended it. It’s as simple as that. What was left was a deliciously thick paste that then became the pasta sauce.
If you don’t do dairy, you can sub in other kinds of milk. You might just have to use a little less, since typically almond or cashew milk are thinner in consistency than half and half or cream. You can let your eyes be the judge here, you really can’t mess this up!
Cooking the pasta
For this recipe, I used Fettuccine. I liked it for this type of sauce because the noodles were wider and soaked up the creamy sauce really well (fettuccine is also fun to eat). You can sub in any type of pasta you enjoy. I do recommend using a thicker variety to hold onto that sauce.
Simply cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to the box directions. When you drain the pasta, be sure to reserve some of the starchy cooking water for later. This will be used if you need to thin out your butternut squash mixture.
Combine the butternut squash mixture with the pasta.
The prosciutto, shallot, and walnut topping
The topping on this pasta dish is honestly the star of the show. I caramelized shallots and crisped up slices of prosciutto di parma together in a pan to create a super crispy topping. It worked well against the creaminess of the sauce and pasta. I stirred in walnuts in the end for even more of a crunch.
Prosciutto di parma is a lean variety of prosciutto, and it’s very calorie and point friendly. You would be surprised! You can typically find it at grocery stores where they sell the pre-packaged deli meats and cheeses. Prosciutto is delicious on its own, but when its crisped up like this, it takes on a whole new level of flavor.
Putting it together
Assembly is really easy – I poured my puree into the cooked pasta, stirred to combine, and plated it. I topped it with the crispy shallots and prosciutto and walnuts, and you’re good to go! A little fresh parsley won’t hurt here either, but this dish is perfect without it as well. The finished result: creamy pasta, offset by crispy prosciutto, shallots, and walnuts.
Pasta lover? Check out some of my other favorite pasta recipes:
- One of my most popular pasta dishes, spaghetti carbonara.
- A pasta you can make using all pantry ingredients, spaghetti alla puttanesca.
- Another smoky flavored pasta dish is penne alla’matriciana.
Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash and Prosciutto
- sheet pan
- large pot
- 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
- olive oil spray
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup fat free half and half
- 2 shallots
- 6 slices prosciutto di parma
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 8 oz fettucine, weighed raw
- Preheat oven to 450F. T
- Toss the cubed squash with olive oil spray, the salt, garlic powder, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Roast on a sheet pan for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
- Roast on a sheet pan for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiled salted water according to package directions.
- When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and set aside- reserve 1 cup of pasta water in case you need it later.
- Slice the shallots and chop the prosciutto.
- Sauté the shallots and prosciutto in olive oil spray until crispy and browned.
- Set aside and add the walnuts. Toss to combine.
- Add the cooked butternut squash to a blender with the half and half, purée.
- Add the purée to the cooked pasta and toss to coat. If it seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time.
- Place the pasta on a serving dish and top with the prosciutto, shallot and walnut mixture. Taste for seasoning.
- 9 WW points (all plans)
- 3 WW points (purple - if you use whole wheat pasta)