Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Make Ahead Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

While photocopying my last exam, I ran into my colleague who told me she used butternut squash and other yummy veggies in my “make ahead pasta bake”. 

I took one of our favorite fall meals – roasted butternut squash lasagna – and made it using the method my colleague described.  We LOVED it. 

Combining other delightful flavors in a recipe that works so well with our crazy schedule is brilliant.  I owe this recipe idea to her – thanks J! 

If you have leftover butternut squash from Thanksgiving, this pasta bake is the perfect way to use it up!

Make Ahead Butternut Squash Pasta Bake


  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash {or 1 1/2 C puree}
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 1 T white whole wheat flour
  • 2 C milk
  • 1/8 C whipping cream
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 C fresh {or frozen} spinach leaves
  • 2 C penne pasta, uncooked, whole wheat preferred
  • 2/3 C parmesan cheese


Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast at 450 for about 45 minutes, until soft when pricked with a fork. 

Allow the squash to cool for about 20 minutes, and then scoop out the squash into a large bowl. I had about 3 loosely packed cups of squash.  This recipe calls for 1 1/2 C puree – so I just froze the rest for later.

In a large skillet sauté the onion and garlic in a tiny dollop of olive oil or butter, until onions are translucent. 

Stir in the butternut squash puree and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Meanwhile, mix together 1 T white whole wheat flour and 1 C milk.  Stir until combined.  Slowly add the milk mixture to the puree in the skillet.  Stir after each addition until well incorporated.  Repeat the slow adding for the additional 1 C milk and 1/8 C whipping cream. 

The goal is to get a sauce similar in consistency to spaghetti sauce … so, if it’s too thick, add a little more milk.  Then, season with salt & pepper.  Remove from heat. 

In a lightly greased 9x9 glass baking dish, spoon in a layer of the garlic butternut squash mixture. 

Then, layer whole wheat penne (uncooked), spinach leaves and mushrooms. 

Top with another layer of butternut squash mix and repeat the layers ending on top with another layer of butternut squash mixture. 

Cover and refrigerate overnight, or until ready to cook. 

The next day, remove the dish from the oven, uncover and sprinkle Parmesan cheese – or Mozzarella, or a combo of the two – over the top of the pasta bake. 

Place the dish in the oven, then turn it on to 350 degrees.  Cover the dish with a cookie sheet or tinfoil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

Then, uncover the dish and continue baking at 350 for an additional 20-30 minutes until the dish is bubbly, cheese is slightly browned and melt-y. 

Serve warm & enjoy.  Leftovers reheat well too. 

Linked to: These Chicks Cooked, What’s On Your Plate? Recipe LInky


  1. I have some pureed squash in my freezer right now just begging for me to make this, perfect.

    Thanks for linking up to Newlyweds Recipe Linky.

  2. This solves the question of what to make for dinner tonight. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. I made this for dinner last night, with a few modifications. I added a few layers of homemade tomato sauce, and melted a few tablespoons of cream cheese in the butternut squash mixture since we were out of whipping cream. It was fantastic, my husband raved about it. Thanks again!!

  4. If I put this in the freezer do I need to defrost before baking or should bake and then freeze?

    1. Freeze it without baking; then defrost & bake.

  5. Question, do I have to put it in the fridge overnight or can I just bake it now that I have it all put together? Was gonna make this for dinner tonight.

    1. Yes, you can bake it right away - no need to refrigerate, unless you want too. Hope you enjoyed it!


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