Butternut Squash Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage

Pasta sauce made out of butternut squash?

We are always looking for new and innovative pasta recipes to make and this one did not disappoint. We are big fans of spicy pasta and the spicy Italian sausage in this one helps this dish sing. This butternut squash pasta with spicy Italian sausage perfectly fits in with that! This is a creamy sauce without the cream and the fall flavors work so well together! The best part of this recipe is that you can store the leftover butternut squash sausage pasta and bring it to work for lunch the next day!

Cubed butternut squash in a boiling water

Fresh is best but pre-cut won’t kill you.

The first stop is the grocery store. You will be able to find the butternut squash in the produce section, but I usually opt for the precut butternut squash. Shhh don’t tell anyone, but I always try to use shortcuts during the week to make cooking a bit easier! Once you are home it is time to get cooking! 

You will need a deep skillet for this. What helps all of these fall flavors combine is adding the pasta and the sauce into the skillet and allowing the flavors to mix! First things first, set a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat and bring it to a boil. If you bought a whole squash take this time to peel, seed, and cut the squash into cubes. 

butternut squash puree being added to spicy sausage in a pan.

How is there no cream in this sauce?

When the water starts to boil add your butternut squash. Allow this to simmer until the squash is fork-tender. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Once the squash is fork-tender use a slotted spoon to remove the cubed butternut squash from the boiling water and set it aside in a large bowl to cool a bit. Once this has cooled down add it to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to take some of the boiling water to get this to a smooth consistency. Set this aside for later use. 

Bring the water you were using for the butternut squash back to a boil and add in your pasta. Using the directions on the box cook your pasta until al dente. When there is one minute left before your pasta is done add your spinach to the boiling pasta. Once time is up strain the pasta and spinach, but make sure to reserve one cup of the pasta water and set it to the side. 

close up of butternut squash pasta and spinach

It’s like a hug in a bowl!

In your large saute pan over medium heat add your spicy sausage. You can choose to use sweet Italian sausage, ground chicken, or ground turkey if you do not like spice, but I certainly encourage you to add extra red pepper flakes if you do change your meat. Using a wooden spoon break up and cook your sausage. After 5-7 minutes your sausage should be cooked and you can transfer it to a plate.

Add your butter to the saute pan allowing it to melt. You can choose to substitute 2 tablespoons of olive oil instead of butter if butter is not your thing. To the butter add your minced shallots and garlic. Cook this until it is golden brown and fragrant. 

butternut squash pasta and shaved cheese.

Spice it up with a little extra hot pepper!

It is now time to add your blended butternut squash to the pan. Depending on your stove you may need a lower heat on the saute pan to medium-low. Your mixture should be bubbling but not spitting. Mix your ingredients and then add in the parmesan cheese, sage, salt, and pepper and stir. If this mixture is too thick use your reserved pasta water a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. I usually shoot for a thicker soup-type consistency. Once you have the mixture where you like it add in your cooked pasta and combine.

I serve this in shallow bowls and usually top it with some extra red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. 

Finished plate of butternut squash pasta.

Things we used to make this butternut squash pasta with sausage


Can I substitute the meat in this recipe?

Yes, feel free to use any meat but the spiciness of the sausage helps this sing. I would add in more red pepper flakes to compensate for that.

How do I store my leftover pasta?

This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Don’t tell anyone but I also enjoy eating this cold.

Can I freeze this recipe?

If you do not mix the sauce and the pasta you could just freeze the sauce for up to 3 months in an airtight container, but if this is already mixed with the pasta I would not recommend freezing it.

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plated food.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage

  • Author: A Couple Bites


Changing the sauce you use on your pasta is a great way to reimagine some easy and classic dishes. Butternut squash adds to the sweetness and the spicy sausage balances the whole dish! 


Units Scale
  • 1 lb spicy pork sausage, casing removed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 box of cavatelli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add in your cubed butternut squash and allow to cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. 
  2. When the butternut squash is fork tender use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the butternut squash and add it to a blender. Blend the butternut squash until smooth, adding in some cooking water to get a smooth consistency. Be care as the heat does add pressure to the blender. 
  3. Bring your salted water to a boil and add your pasta. Cook your pasta to al dente box instructions. 
  4. 1 minute before the pasta is done cooking add your spinach to the boiling water. Once cooked strain, reserving some of the cooking water and set aside. 
  5. In an extra large nonstick pan over medium heat add your ground-up sausage. Break up larger pieces while constantly stirring. Once the sausage is cooked remove it from the pan, about 7-9 minutes. 
  6. Add the butter into the pan and allow it to melt. Once melted add in your minced shallot and minced garlic. Cook stirring constantly until golden brown. 
  7. Add your blended butternut squash to the pan and stir. If the sauce is a little too thick add some of the cooking water to thin the sauce out. Add in your parmesan cheese, sage, and salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  8. Add your pasta with spinach and sausage back into the pan and stir to coat the pasta in the sauce. You can also add more reserved cooking water here if the sauce is still too thick. 
  9. Serve, top with red pepper flakes, and enjoy! 

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