Here at World Butternut Headquarters, we’ve been in Bubba Gump-mode. We’ve done butternut squash bread pudding, pot pie and a Thanksgiving-smelling gratin with apples and leeks. The Risotto to End All Risottos. Roasted butternut on grits. Butternut and corn chowder. And a butternut casserole that’s even bettah with hot Italian sausage.

Holy goodness.

So, I thought we’d fully explored the power of the butternut until I saw this recipe for Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pasta. You add the freshly cooked pasta (and a little pasta water) to the goat cheese so that it melts into a creamy, tangy sauce for this beautiful mess of roasted squash and onion, toasted walnuts, fresh basil and Parmesan.

Just the thing for a rainy autumn day.

(Tomorrow, add some hot Italian sausage.)

Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ “Giada at Home”

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta (any kind)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see Note)
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  1. Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the squash and onion, and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  4. Put the goat cheese in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Add the pasta and 1 cup of pasta water. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce.
  5. Add the squash, onion, walnuts and the basil. Toss well, and season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan, and serve.

Note: To toast the walnuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 6 minutes Cool before using.