Butternut Squash Alfredo

For the record, I love butter. Love it. So for me to replace it with something else—especially something healthy—the end result has to be delicious. And this certainly is.

Last fall, I was going crazy for roasted butternut squash. Then one day, I happened upon a recipe for a butternut squash and parmesan sauce. I’d never thought about puréeing the thing before, but it seemed like a potentially yummy idea. I decided to try making a faux alfredo, leaving out butter entirely.  And oh my, was it good! I’m not going to say it was better than alfredo (I feel like a statement claiming anything to be better than alfredo might potentially be blasphemous), but it is equally good, in a different way. The squash gives it a nice richness and depth of flavor—it’s a surprise to find out that there is no butter in it whatsoever. And it’s healthy (or, not as unhealthy), so you can justify snacking on the leftovers incessantly (and there will be leftovers—this yields a lot of sauce). If you don’t like leftovers and you aren’t feeding a family of 8, I recommend cutting this recipe in half.

Butternut Squash Alfredo

yield: approx. 4 cups of sauce

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash (approx. 3–4 lbs)
  • 1 ½ cups of half & half (or more, if sauce seems too thick)
  • 1 cup of fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and pulp. Arrange squash in a pan, cut side down (you may need to halve your halves or use two pans if you can’t get it to fit). Cover with tinfoil and roast for 45 minutes, until squash is tender.

Remove squash from oven and let cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, scrape out soft squash meat with a spoon. Combine squash, half & half, parmesan, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth (using an immersion blender would work fine as well). Add sauce to whatever pasta dish you’d like! I’ve used this as a sauce for lasagna before, and it was quite good. My favorite way to use it, however, is in a sort of faux mac & cheese. I cook an entire package of chicciole pasta (they hold sauce well and they look like screaming faces), steam one small package of frozen peas, saute one medium-sized head of broccoli (cut into small florets), combine everything (including sauce) together, distribute between two baking dishes, sprinkle breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese over top, and bake for 20–30 minutes. So good! Because it’s so tasty, I’m having trouble envisioning other ways to use this sauce. I welcome suggestions!


  1. says

    This looks incredible. I might have to make it tonight with one of my many butternut squashes. I am obsessed. Now, you mentioned butternut squash lasagna, which I’ve been thinking lots about. But I think I want whole chunks of squash. What else, do you think?

    • says

      Mushrooms, caramelized onions, and sage, with a béchamel sauce (and some nutmeg)! Despite hating onions, I’m pretty sure they’d be good with it, and research (Flavor Bible) confirms it.

  2. says

    Carey. This reminds me of the day you told me you put spaghetti squash in your alfredo instead of pasta, and my mind was blown. I’m in the middle of creating a cooking storm in the kitchen for a housewarming party tomorrow, and I just took a 5 min break to make this and feed myself. OK, I had the roasted squash already cooked. So I just put a couple spoonfuls of squash, a solid heap of grated parm, and a dash of half and half in a bowl and blitzed it with the immersion blender. I then added soba noodles and threw in some leftover steamed kale. AMAZING. Amazing. amazing.

  3. Betsy says

    A friend just made this for a food swap, and it is so delicious. I haven’t made it yet, but I envision spooning it over an english muffin, egg, and tomato like eggs benedict. Yum!

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