I made a mega trip to the grocery store yesterday and somehow made it home with all of my seasonal favorites — a big butternut squash (plus an extra bag of pre-cut butternut squash, which I’m obsessed with), far too many cans of pumpkin (still paranoid about running out after that unfortunate national shortage a few years ago!), and my all-time favorite hot cinnamon spice tea (which I basically drink every day in life that the temperature dips below 70 degrees). Mmmm. I may not love cold weather, but I do love me some good fall comfort foods.
So to kick off butternut squash season, I decided to cut up the squash and roast it to sweet perfection (cheating a little with the 5-ingredient title, and also using some oil, salt and pepper). Then while it roasted, I cooked up a batch of my favorite whole wheat pasta. And then instead of whipping up a sauce, I took one of my favorite shortcuts and just stirred a bunch of goat cheese into the pasta (once it was cooked and drained) until it was nice and melty and creamy. Then I stirred in the roasted butternut, a ton of fresh arugula, some toasted pine nuts, and topped it all with a little extra black pepper. And the result?!?
Oh my goodness. Can I please just say…
…you HAVE to make this one.
Seriously. I mean, I expected the dish to be good with that ingredient combination. But it was beyond great.
The sweet and savory ingredients came together absolutely perfectly. I’m pretty sure that no one would ever guess that the “sauce” was made in about 20 seconds with just one ingredient. And, as always, knowing how ridiculously easy it was to prepare made the dish taste all the more delicious. :)
Of course, much of the deliciousness was due to some of my favorite ingredients that never fail — sweet roasted butternut squash (which I like to make with some generous pinches of salt and black pepper) and a few big handfuls of fresh baby arugula (which is always a staple in my fridge).
I forgot to snap a picture of the “sauce”-making. But to make a goat cheese sauce, or a sauce with any soft cheese (blue cheese, feta, brie, etc.), simply reserve some of the hot pasta water before you drain off the pasta. Then drain the pasta, and immediately stir the cheese into the hot pasta. It will melt and coat the pasta on its own, but I find that the consistency is a little better and the cheese melts more evenly if you also add in a 1/4 cup (or more) of the reserved pasta water while stirring in the cheese.
Either way, it literally just takes a few seconds, and then — voila!! — you have a delicious pasta sauce all ready to go!
Then add back in the roasted butternut, some toasted pine nuts, and the fresh arugula…
…give it all a good toss, maybe along with a few extra twists of freshly-cracked black pepper…
…and then just look at that. A beautiful, colorful, fall pasta dish is ready to go.
I just love those colors!!!
And it tastes 100x more delicious than it looks. Win = WIN.
If you feel like going beyond the 5-ingredient list, you could easily also add some protein to the dish (like chicken sausage, bacon, or even prosciutto or pancetta). Ooooh, and I’d also totally recommend roasting up a head of garlic along with the squash and then adding in some roasted garlic cloves to the mix. And always feel free to sub in your favorite kinds of nuts (walnuts or pecans would also work well instead of pine nuts). Or…whatever else you might like!
Frankly, I was completely satisfied with the pasta, butternut, arugula, goat cheese, and pine nuts. So I’m going to call this a 5-ingredient recipe success…
…and I already can’t wait to make this again. Hope that you do too!!
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or mist it with cooking spray).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butternut squash and oil, and toss until the squash is evenly coated. Spread the squash out the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the squash at the halfway point then returning them to the oven, until the squash are cooked through and soft on the inside. Remove and set aside.
While the squash is cooking, bring a large stockpot of generously-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente, according to package instructions. Once it reaches al dente, scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and set it aside for later. Then drain the rest of the water and return the pasta to the stockpot. Immediately add in the goat cheese along with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, and toss until the cheese is completely melted and is evenly coating the pasta. (If it seems too thick and you’d like a lighter “sauce”, add in a few more tablespoons of the pasta water at a time until the cheese reaches your desired consistency.) Add in the arugula, pine nuts and roasted butternut squash, and toss until combined.
Serve immediately, garnished with extra black pepper if desired.
Well yeah, it does sound beyond great! I love how simple it is too. Definitely adding this one to the meal plan!
And you just got me all paranoid about running out of pumpkin. I need to go stock up!
Thanks Sarah, we hope you love it! :)
While I’ve been trying to avoid the impending fall, I have to say, I’ve had a change of heart this week due to all the fall foods I’ve seen (like this!) and glimpse of cooler weather we got earlier in the week. Bring it on!
Fall food is pretty hard not to love, isn’t it?! We hope you like the pasta, and we’ll definitely have some more fall-worthy recipes on the way! :)
So easy and full of good stuff!! This sounds great!
Thanks Katrina, we hope you enjoy it!
This does sound like a must-make. Seems like everything right now has goat cheese and pasta and butternut squash. I’m having a hard time deciding if this is supposed to be a main dish or a side, given that it’s very high carb and low protein. Guess I’d use it as a side. This one would even get me to use arugula, which I do only very rarely because I get tired of it quickly.
We think it really could go either way! It would be a great accompaniment to a roasted chicken or other meat, and alternatively it could be a great main and you could always add protein to it (chicken or bacon would probably work the best). We hope you enjoy!
I love using brown rice pasta to make this recipe gluten free!
This dish looks beautiful!
Really loving the colours and since butternut is finally in season again, I can not wait to try this! :)
Thank you Delia, we’re pretty glad about butternut squash being in season again too! We hope you love this! :)
Beautiful fall dish!! I love the vibrant colors!! Pinning!!
OMG, drool!!! All my favorite things in one dish. Can’t wait to make this on a chilly fall day! Thanks for sharing!
I’m grilling out this weekend and ready to include some fall vegetables in the mix! Butternut squash is definitely on this week’s shopping list.
Josh | The Kentucky Gent
Yes, you could even grill the butternut squash! :)
OMG! Loving the peppery arugula with butternut squash! So simple yet delicious recipe, Ali! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Savita, we hope you enjoy this! :)
I haven’t gotten my hands on a butternut squash yet. But I did get a spaghetti squash last week, I was really excited to use it and went to cut it open and it was totally gooey and mushy inside. I was really bummed. We have the last farmer’s market tomorrow, I am hoping to pick up some squash there. And hopefully it will be a butternut squash, then I can make this delicious looking recipe! :)
Oh no, what a bummer about the spaghetti squash! We hope you can track down some butternut squash soon and that you enjoy the pasta! :)
Looks wonderful! I make a similar dish, but with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and herbs de provence incorporated into the cheese sauce. Delish! I will definitely consider adding pine nuts next time. Another great spin on this is a cold pasta salad with crumbled feta or goat cheese, and added black beans and honey mustard vinaigrette–one of my all-time favorite salads!
Ooooh that sounds fantastic, we’re so going to have to try! :)
This looks soooo delicious! Love the short ingredient list. Anything with roasted veggies, I am IN!
Thanks Courtney, we hope you enjoy this! :)
Yum! Looks delicious. Arugula, squash, and goat cheese. I love it! And it’s so pretty with all the colors!
Thanks Naomi, we hope you enjoy this! :)
Does this make good leftovers? I am not sure if arugula reheats well. I’ve never tried!
Unfortunately the arugula doesn’t hold up too well in terms of crispness, but it still tastes great as leftovers!
Made this tonight, easy and delish! If you like salt like me you’ll need a lot of it, FYI. Will be making this again!
Thanks for sharing Gina, we’re happy you liked it!
I just made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! It didn’t look exactly the same as the pictures posted…someone needs to teach me how to cut up butternut squash (: so happy I have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week!
We’re so happy you liked it Jessica! :)
This looks delicious. I am newly trying a vegetarian life as well I am on a 1200 calorie diet. Do yiu know how many calories are in this dish?
Hi Joanna! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
Making this tomorrow, is the squash and pasta supposed to be cooled before adding to arugula? Or still warm?
They can still be warm (just not piping hot, or else the arugula will wilt). We hope you enjoy the recipe!
This was absolutely delicious ! I made a salad with your instructions but without the pasta I put in lettuce with the arugula. Substituted pine nuts with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds!
Thank you Alyssa – we’re so glad to hear that! :)
Hey there, the recipe sounds really amazing and I want to try it! But which goat cheese did you choose for your recipe?
You can use whichever kind of goat cheese you like, Pauline! :) We love plain or herbed (we just buy it in log form). We hope you enjoy the pasta! :)
I loved this! My vegetarian sister-in-law came over for dinner a few nights ago so I made the recipe just like it says. It was delicious. I was worried that because it was so simple and quick to make that it wouldn’t be very flavorful. But it was perfect. My sister-in-law even asked to take home the leftovers!
I had leftover goat cheese and arugula from the other night so I decided to make it again tonight to use up the ingredients. I didn’t have any butternut squash but I did have sweet potatoes. I roasted those and added those in. And I also added chicken. Both versions were delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks for sharing with us, Allison — we’re so happy this was a hit! :)
Just stumbled upon this recipe – I know it’s recommended to serve warm, but if you keep this as leftovers can you eat it cold (like pasta salad) or since the sauce is cheese based do you need to reheat it?
Hi Dana! You can eat the leftovers cold, or you can heat them up briefly in the microwave. We hope you enjoy!
Made this for dinner tonight and my roommate loved it! I substituted spinach because my grocery store didn’t have arugula but it was still good!
Thanks for the recipe!
We’re so glad to hear that, Kristen, we appreciate you giving it a try! :)
Absolutely delicious! Added some chicken to make it a complete dinner, and it got five stars from everyone who ate it!
Thanks, Megan, we’re happy it was a hit!
This is so simple and so delicious! A great vegetarian dinner
Made this last night and it was awesome. Some slight differences I did- I used quinoa pasta, so we got some protein, and I used pecans instead of pine nuts. I did use arugula but we aren’t huge fans so next time, and there will be a next time, I will use spinach. Awesome recipe, thank you.
So yummy! Some changes we made – I seasoned the squash with cinnamon, salt, and garlic. I also couldn’t find pine nuts so we swapped for unsalted sunflower seeds. Lastly, we added some lemon juice and salt for “dressing” and it makes it SO good!