Butternut Squash and Sage Cream Sauce Recipe

Rich, sweet, and savory, this is a truly winning sauce.

A plate of pasta coated in butternut squash and sage cream sauce.

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Why It Works

  • Roasting the squash until browned enhances its sweetness and brings out its best flavor.
  • Cooking the shallots in browned sage butter adds a nutty depth and extra sweetness.

I've been in the mood for pasta, but not the usual red sauce. Thinking differently, I remembered a rigatoni with butternut squash, peas, and porcini mushrooms I've had multiple times at Zero Otto Nove in the Bronx, and put together this butternut squash cream sauce inspired by that.

I wanted to get this done all in one pan, but the amount of squash was just too much to brown in a 12-inch skillet, so I started by roasting the cubed butternut squash in a hot oven until nicely caramelized around the edges. The squash then gets added to a saucepan with shallots sautéed in a browned sage butter along with the chicken stock. After being simmered together, the mixture is puréed and finished with Parmesan and heavy cream.

Rich, sweet, and just a little salty, this is a truly winning sauce. Breaking up the pasta monotony at home, it was a welcome change and one that I'd be happy to make over and over again.

February 2012

Recipe adapted from Use Real Butter.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
Makes: 3 cups

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Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 8 large sage leaves

  • 1/3 cup minced shallots

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place squash in a large bowl and toss with olive oil until evenly coated. Transfer squash to a rimmed baking sheet, arranging in a single layer, and place in oven until browned around the edges, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.

    Butternut squash cubes roasting in a aluminium-foiled baking pan.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. When foaming subsides, add sage leaves and cook until they darken and crisp and butter browns slightly. Transfer sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate. Add shallots to pan and sautée until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and squash, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is completely tender, about 10 minutes.

    Sage leaves crisping in lightly browned butter.
  3. Using an immersion blender, or transferring to a countertop blender, purée until completely smooth.

    An immersion blender pureeing butternut squash mixture until smooth.
  4. Stir in parmesan cheese and heavy cream and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Either crumble reserved sage into sauce, or use as a garnish. Use immediately.

    A spoon swirling through butternut squash and sage cream sauce.

Special Equipment

Rimmed baking sheet, saucepan, immersion blender or countertop blender

Notes

To learn how to prepare, peel, and cut butternut squash, check out our knife skills guide.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
142 Calories
10g Fat
13g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 142
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 330mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 17mg 84%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 370mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)