Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Browned Butter Pasta with Butternut Squash

May 16, 2020 by Chris Collins

This Browned Butter Pasta is loaded with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Goats Cheese and Toasted Walnuts. Better still – it’s beyond easy to make!

overhead shot of pasta in skillet sprinkled with goats cheese

Butternut Squash Pasta

Butternut squash and pasta are a match made in heaven, and we are here today to celebrate that fact. A lot of recipes roast the butternut squash, others puree it and make it into a sauce. For me, the easiest way to create butternut squash pasta is to pan fry the butternut squash. I do this for two reasons:

  • Same great flavour as roasting.
  • All in the same pan, so less washing up.

Alongside the butternut squash we’ll add a few more goodies (which I’ll get to in just a sec), but for now here’s the first steps for prepping the pasta:

  1. Toast walnuts in a dry pan (optional but recommended).
  2. Remove from pan, add butternut squash and oil to same pan.
  3. Fry until browned and crispy, then remove from pan.
  4. Add in mushrooms.
  5. Fry until the begin to wilt.

How to make butternut squash pasta - 5 step by step photos

Browned Butter Pasta

Alrighty, let’s talk about butter. Which is honestly my favourite thing to do 🤣

What is browned butter?

Browned butter is essentially melted butter that’s been slowly cooked down until it turns from a lemony yellow colour, to a deep brown colour. Browned butter has a rich, sweet and nutty flavour which is completely different to regular melted butter.

How do you brown butter?

Keep the pan on a medium heat (no higher). Keep gently stirring the melted butter until it starts to foam. Continue cooking and stirring past this point until you see tiny black specs forming. These are just milk solids. The butter is browned when it releases a nutty aroma and turns from a light brown to a slightly darker brown.

How to make Browned Butter Pasta (quick summary)

  1. Melt butter into pan with mushrooms.
  2. Stir until it begins to foam.
  3. Add garlic and thyme.
  4. Whisk in starchy pasta water.
  5. Add pasta.
  6. Add butternut squash.

How to make Browned Butter Pasta - 6 step by step photos

Tips for Browned Butter Pasta

Starchy Pasta Water

This is what will turn your browned butter into a creamy/glossy sauce. Just before draining the pasta you’ll want to scoop out a cup of the starchy pasta water. When adding to the butter, quickly whisk to emulsify. The starch molecules are what help the emulsification and helps turn the sauce slightly creamy, as opposed to greasy.

Browned, not melted

Important to fully brown the butter, don’t just melt it. The flavour difference between browned butter and just melted butter is huge!

Don’t rush!

Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat to speed up the process. If at all the butter starts smelling as if it’s burning, turn down the heat immediately.

closeup shot focusing on mushroom resting on pasta

How to serve this pasta

You can either sprinkle over goats cheese whilst the pasta is in the pan, give it one final toss and serve. Or, sprinkle over individual portions. You don’t want to completely mix it through because it melts and goes gloopy.

For individual portions squeeze over fresh lemon juice and sprinkle over your (crushed) toasted walnuts. Done and dusted!

If you’re after another easy and delicious butternut squash recipe definitely check out my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

For another gorgeous browned butter recipes head over to my Browned Butter Lemon Baby Potatoes.

For more simple and tasty pasta recipes give these a ganders too:

Simply Delicious Pasta Recipes

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this browned butter pasta shall we?!

overhead shot of bowl of pasta on chopping board surrounded by walnuts and garnished with goats cheese

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How to make Browned Butter Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

closeup shot focusing on mushroom resting on pasta

Browned Butter Pasta with Butternut Squash

This Browned Butter Pasta is loaded with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Goats Cheese and Toasted Walnuts. Better still - it's beyond easy to make!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 721kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Whisk
  • Jug/Cup (for scooping pasta water)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Peeler (for butternut squash)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 12.3oz / 350g Fusilli Pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 5.3oz / 150g Mushrooms, sliced (here I use Chestnut)
  • 5.3oz / 150g Goats Cheese, crumbled (or to preference)
  • 3/4 cup / 75g Walnuts (or to preference)
  • 1/2 medium Butternut Squash, peeled & diced into tiny cubes (approx 14oz/400g)
  • 4 heaped tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3-4 sprigs of Fresh Thyme, leaves only (approx 1 tbsp)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 1 Lemon, juice only
  • Olive Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Add your walnuts to a large (dry) pan over medium heat and toast until they begin to lightly char, shaking frequently. Remove from pan and crush just before serving (either with your hands, the bottom of a mug, in a zip lock bag etc).
  • In the same pan add a good drizzle of olive oil (around 1 tbsp) and add your butternut squash. Fry until it begins to brown, stirring every now and then. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then continue frying until golden and crispy. Remove from pan.
  • In the same pan add your mushroom slices (and more oil if needed) and begin frying until they begin to wilt. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then continue frying until they begin to brown.
  • At this point pop your pasta in heavily salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Don't pour in a tonne of water, only enough to efficiently cook the pasta. You want it fairly shallow so it's extra starchy. Just before draining, scoop out a cup of the salty starchy water.
  • Melt butter into the pan with the mushrooms. It will begin to foam, just keep gently stirring until the butter starts turning from a lemony yellow to a light brown. After a few more minutes you will start to see tiny dark specks start to form on the surface, these are just the milk solids. Add in your garlic and thyme leaves, give it a stir and continue browning for another 1-2mins. Once you see the butter turning a deeper brown colour, it will release a nutty aroma. This is when your butter is properly browned. If at any point the nutty aroma smells more like burning, then simply reduce the heat.
  • Pour in 1 cup starchy pasta water and quickly whisk to emulsify the water with the butter. It should start turning into a browny coloured sauce. Once it starts to thicken up stir in your pasta and butternut squash. Sprinkle over goats cheese, give the pan ONE toss (don't stir or the cheese will melt and go gloopy - alternatively you can serve cheese sprinkled over individual portions).
  • Serve by squeezing over lemon juice (to taste) and a good sprinkling of crushed walnuts.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Pasta Water - Important to ensure the water you retain is a) salty (so you don't dilute the flavour of the pasta) and b) starchy (starch molecules are what emulsifies with the butter and create a light creamy/glossy sauce).
b) Browned Butter - Don't rush this process. I know it's tempting to crank up the heat, but this will burn the butter, opposed to browning it. With the same token do ensure you brown the butter, don't cut it short and just make a sauce with melted butter. The difference in flavour is huge.
c) Walnuts - If you can eat nuts I highly recommend adding these. If you're pushed for time you can leave them un-toasted. Pine nuts also go well with this recipe (optionally toasted).
d) Calories - based on using 1 tbsp olive oil. Whole recipe divided by 4.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Browned Butter Pasta with Butternut Squash
Amount Per Serving
Calories 721 Calories from Fat 348
% Daily Value*
Fat 38.72g60%
Saturated Fat 15.958g80%
Trans Fat 0.002g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10.701g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.896g
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 170mg7%
Potassium 573mg16%
Carbohydrates 76g25%
Fiber 11.6g46%
Sugar 2.91g3%
Protein 22.92g46%
Vitamin A 1124IU22%
Vitamin C 11.3mg14%
Calcium 376mg38%
Iron 2.65mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Deanne
    May 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    5 stars
    I’m adding this to our family meal plan. Delicious!

  • Reply
    Amanda Wren-Grimwood
    May 19, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    5 stars
    That looks so healthy but filling too. Love the thyme with the butternut squash.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 19, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Thyme & butternut squash is such a glorious combo isn’t it!?

  • Reply
    Shashi
    May 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    5 stars
    Wow – what a rich dish – pasta sure is elevated with decadent browned butter!

  • Reply
    Charla
    May 19, 2020 at 11:48 am

    5 stars
    I actually just made a dish where brown butter was the star of the show. What a game changer! This looks fab Chris, it’s healthy and incredibly filling. Note to self to add to my meal prep list!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 19, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Browned butter is an absolute game changer isn’t it!?

  • Reply
    Kushigalu
    May 19, 2020 at 11:16 am

    5 stars
    What a great flavor combination. I will soon make this for dinner.

  • Leave a Reply

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