Creamy Squash Fettuccine with Caramelized Onion and Pancetta Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Creamy Squash Fettuccine with Caramelized Onion and Pancetta

16 reviews / 4.9 average

Creamy Squash Fettuccine! Silky creamy sauce, caramelized onion, fork-twirled noodles, topped with the crispy pancetta and delicate little flakes of salty parmesan and fried sage leaves.

Good news: yes, this is as luscious as it looks.

And yes, you can make use of your squash that you either grew in your garden (shout out to you!) or bought from someone else who grew it because you were busy doing other things (it me).

This recipe is a cozy date-night-at-home dream for the fall, or the winter, or the ANYTIME.

The silky sauce, the caramelized onion, the fork-twirled noodles, topped with the crispy pancetta and delicate little flakes of salty parmesan and fried sage leaves... all of it just makes you want to wrap up in a blanket and burrow into a pasta cave and come out sometime never.

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Creamy Squash Fettuccine with Caramelized Onion and Pancetta up close.

I mostly like this recipe for a fancy date night, but I have to tell you, the little two-year-old who tags along on most of our food experiences was VERY, VERY excited about this “pastha” and helped me remember that this can really serve almost any situation:

  • Treat yoself dinner for one
  • Romantic dinner for two
  • Awesome dinner for the family just because you're that great

The sage leaves are optional, but please, for all that's delicious: the heavenly squash-and-cream sauce, the fried bits of pancetta, and the deeply golden caramelized onions are essential.

To pasta love.

Squash Fettuccine with cheese and basil garnish in a bowl.

Common Questions About This Yummy Squash Fettuccine

Do I need a whole butternut squash for this recipe?

In my experience, 1 butternut squash yields about 3 cups of cubed, peeled squash. This means you'll need about half of a butternut squash for this recipe.

What do you do with the rest of the squash?

You have options! You could freeze it for later, add it to a soup, roast it up for a salad, or use it in a curry.

How can I make this vegan?

Skip the cream and the pancetta! Or, if you want it to be creamier, use your favorite non-dairy heavy cream sub. You could also give this recipe a try as an alternative!

Can I use dried thyme instead?

Yep! You could use about a teaspoon of dried thyme in place of the fresh.

How do I make caramelized onion dip?

Ready? Step 1: Cut a few onions. Step 2: Caramelize those onions in a pan. Step 3: Mix them up with everything else in a bowl and EAT.

I drew on a few sources of inspiration for this magical recipe, including this one (not vegan) and this one (vegan) and this squash sauce pasta of years past.

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Creamy Squash Fettuccine with Caramelized Onion and Pancetta


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x

Description

Creamy Squash Fettuccine! Silky creamy sauce, caramelized onion, fork-twirled noodles, topped with the crispy pancetta and delicate little flakes of salty parmesan and fried sage leaves.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Squash Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (see notes)
  • swish of olive oil + sprinkle of salt
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (honestly, it's delicious with or without the cream - your choice)

Other Yums:

  • 2-3 ounces pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • a few sage leaves (optional)

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces fettuccine or pappardelle (half a box)
  • freshly grated parmesan for topping

Instructions

  1. Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange squash on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and a little salt. Add thyme sprigs. Roast for 20-30 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  2. Fry the pancetta: Meanwhile, fry pancetta bits in a skillet until crispy and browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.
  3. Caramelize the onion: Turn the heat down and let the pan cool for a moment. Add the onion to the pancetta grease. Sauté for 20-30 minutes (while you're waiting for the squash to roast) until soft, fragrant, and caramel-colored. (Optional: after you remove the onions, fry the sage right in the same pan.)
  4. Cook the pasta: While you wait on the onions and squash, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  5. Blend the squash sauce: Transfer squash to a blender (removing thyme sprigs). Puree the squash with the broth, garlic, and salt until smooth.
  6. Almost there: Place your cooked pasta in your onion pan over medium low heat. Pour squash sauce over pasta. Toss gently with cream and about half of the onions. It should be looking real good right now.
  7. Serve it up all fancy: Plate up the pasta. Top with caramelized onions, pancetta, sage, and fresh Parmesan. Are you at a restaurant? YOU ARE TOTALLY AT A RESTAURANT. Mwah!

Equipment

Notes

Squash: In my experience, 1 butternut squash yields about 3 cups of cubed, peeled squash. This means you'll need about half of a butternut squash for this recipe. I usually just go ahead and roast the entire squash, reserving the 1 1/2 cups for this recipe and saving the other half of roasted squash for easy and kid-friendly meal prep! I like to throw it in salads, soups and stews, curries, etc.

Save time on onion prep with this guide on how to cut an onion.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: squash pasta, fall pasta recipe, fettuccine recipe, squash pasta sauce

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47 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    this looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never thought of putting together a meal like this with creamy squash and noodles. very healthy looking meal. 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I had a bumper crop of Seminole squash from my garden this summer, but only a couple of Butternut squash. Could I substitute a Seminole squash for the Butternut squash? Thank you!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        This looks so good and cozy! Would frozen butternut squash work ok here? I have a bag in the freezer to use up!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks so.. good. I’ve be following low carb. meals and feel so much better. Any recipes you can suggest?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m wondering, for those of us who don’t eat dairy but like the creaminess — do you think an egg mixed in would work? like you’d do for a carbonara?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hmmm good question! I would probably lean towards no, since a large part of carbonara is the egg emulsifying with the cheese. If you give it a try and it does work, let us know!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I made this with cashews instead of heavy cream. I added about 3/4 cup to the vitamix with the squash & vegetable broth, it added the perfect creaminess without the dairy!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this yesterday (was inspired in the morning) and it is delicious! My 12 yr old son ate it for lunch & dinner yesterday AND breakfast this morning!! 😆 Definitely a success in our house.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just made this tonight and we loved it!!! I was going to sub meatballs for pancetta but instead did both… oh my gourd, soo good! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so in love with this recipe!

    And just in case anyone needs this information, I made it vegan very easily! I omitted the pancetta and in place of the cream I added almond milk, it was silky and velvety perfection!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Will squash-hating-spouse realize I’m feeding him butternut squash? Or is taste masked by the stronger flavours of pancetta going on?

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was definitely a labor of love (I doubled it) but we all thoroughly enjoyed it, including my three kids 5 and under. Served alongside a salad from our garden and it was a delicious, filling, and elegant meal. POY FTW yet again!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this today. It was yummy. Since I am vegetarian I added walnuts and rosemary to the onions.

    And it is ok to use all the sauce on only 2 portions, right?

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Omg, omg, omg. This was absolutely delicious! Do yourselves a favor and make this recipe, you won’t regret it 🙂 Thanks Skillful Cook for sharing all your wonderful recipes. My family has had a lot of happy moments at the dinner table thanks to your wonderful recipes.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe is absolutely amazing!! I made it for dinner tonight and I couldn’t be happier with how easy and delicious it was!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe was so incredible that my fiancé asked me to add it to our regular rotation of meals! 10/10

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! Smooth, creamy, salty, sweet…just delightful. Thank you