Make this Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta tonight and enjoy all the flavors of fall in one warming pasta dish that takes under 45 minutes to make!Jump to Recipe
Don’t know what to do with all the autumn squash hitting the stores lately? Make this Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta tonight and enjoy all the flavors of fall in one warming pasta dish that takes under 45 minutes to make!
I remember when I was a kid, having squash for dinner meant either zucchini or yellow squash, both of which are delicious in their own way, but let’s be honest, neither one holds a candle to the autumn deliciousness that is Butternut Squash.
I can’t quite remember when I first had butternut squash, but I know that once I did, I was a convert for life. And now, you can buy it already pre-cut and peeled, which takes a big chunk of the work out of it. That tends to be significantly more expensive though, so I still tend to buy my squash whole and do the work myself. I’ll give you a tip for a better squash cutting experience later in the post.
The key to this recipe is timing. You can honestly get everything done in under 45 minutes if you time it right, and if you buy pre-cut squash, you could get it done in under thirty.
- Start by pre-heating your oven and cutting the squash and onion while you pre-heat. Once the squash goes in the oven, start the pasta. If you cover the pot while it comes to a boil, your timing should be perfect. You want the pasta to be done a few minutes before the rest, because the pasta finishes cooking in the pan.
- Cook your bacon while the pasta water comes to a boil and set it aside to cool.
- Drain your pasta but reserve a half a cup of the cooking water. Don’t worry – the pasta will start to get a little cold, but will heat right back up in the next step!
- A few minutes before the squash comes out of the oven, start melting your butter in the skillet that you used to cook the bacon (wipe out most of the bacon grease, but leave about a teaspoon in there for the flavor). Add the thyme to the butter and let it toast for a minute, then add your cooked pasta.
- Add the squash and onions, bacon, and parmesan cheese into the pasta and toss everything together, then add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, and stir until a light sauce comes together.
- Serve with extra parm!
- Butternut squash
- Red onion
- Olive oil
- Pasta of your choice
- Ground Thyme
- Parmesan Cheese
Tips and Tricks
- Err on the side of undercooking the squash – it will continue to cook in the pan a little bit and overcooked squash can get mushy. Start checking the squash in the oven after 15 minutes or so to test doneness.
- Use ground thyme – you want the thyme flavor to infuse the butter, and pre-ground thyme will accomplish that better than fresh. You can definitely use fresh thyme as a garnish though!
- If you don’t like red onion, you could substitute yellow onion, or two large shallots. You could leave the onion out of the finished dish, but I would still cook the squash with the onion to get its flavor.
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Can I make this vegan?
Absolutely! You could omit the bacon entirely; or you could use mushrooms or vegan bacon in its place. Ditch the butter for olive oil and use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan!
What kind of pasta should I use?
I like a long pasta with this dish because it feels cozier to me somehow. A short pasta would work as well. Honestly, maybe even better with the pieces of squash and bacon.
How do I reheat this?
I reheat in the microwave on half power for 2 minutes then full power for 45 seconds. That way the squash doesn’t get too overdone on reheating.
How long will leftovers keep?
Cooked bacon gets a little suspect after a few days, so I wouldn’t keep the leftovers longer than a day or two.
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Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
- 8-12 ounces of butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ red onion cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 8 ounces of the pasta of your choice
- ¼ cup butter ½ of a stick
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
- Preheat your oven to 425.
- On a lined baking sheet, toss together squash and red onion with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, checking for doneness after about 15 minutes.
- While squash cooks, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water in a measuring cup.
- While the pasta and squash cook, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Set aside to cool.
- When the squash is just done, wipe out all but a teaspoon of the bacon grease from the skillet, and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thyme, and cook until the butter is browning and has a nutty aroma. Add the cooked pasta, the squash and onions, and then crumble the bacon and add it as well.
- Stir together until combined, then add the parmesan and two tablespoons of the cooking water and stir until a light sauce forms. You may need to add more water.
- Serve with extra parmesan.