Skillet Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce Mash

There are oh so many butternut squash sauce recipes out there, but this one is a little bit different! The ingredients are so minimal that my recipe does not call for nutritional yeast, cashews, or butter, which are common components to many homemade butternut squash sauces. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these three ingredients! In fact, I love them all, but sometimes my tummy doesn't. (Also, cashews can be expensive, and soaking them takes a long time. Am I right?!) So, in thinking that I can't be the only one with these food sensitivities, I wanted to create a sauce for all to enjoy, and I think this is one for the books. To top it off, the "skillet baked" detail really gives this dish that comfort food feel!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups uncooked Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini* (or whatever pasta you wish! I used an entire 12 oz. bag of TJ's)

  • About 6 or so cups cubed uncooked butternut squash (I used an entire 32 oz. bag of Trader Joe's pre-cut butternut squash)

  • Avocado oil Spray*

  • Pinch of pepper

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

  • Additional ½ tsp ground black pepper

  • Additional ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt

  • ½ tsp dried, crushed rosemary

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable stock

  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk you wish!)

  • ½ cup freshly grated Jarlsberg cheese (Omit if you are dairy-free or vegan. Did you know Jarlsberg is a great for a lactose-sensitive diet?)

  • Additional ¼ cup of freshly grated Jarlsberg cheese

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread butternut squash cubes onto paper; spray with avocado oil spray, dash of pepper, and pink salt.

  • Bake squash for 15 minutes. (This step is to help get the squash tender.)

  • Meanwhile, heat water for pasta; once water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions. Very dente is best! Drain and set aside.

  • Heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with avocado oil spray,.

  • Remove squash from oven and carefully empty the cubes into the skillet. Turn oven down to 375° F.

  • Sprinkle squash with pepper, pink salt, nutmeg, and rosemary.

  • Add vegetable stock and cover skillet; cook and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes. (You want the squash to be very soft.)

  • Remove cover and reduce heat to low. With a fork, mash the squash until all chunks are gone.

  • Pour in almond milk and Jarlsberg cheese; using a spoon, continue to mash and stir the mixture until ingredients are combined and smooth-ish. (I say -ish due to the fact that this is made without the use of a hand blender. So, the mixture will likely not be as smooth as a typical sauce. This is purposeful, and hence why I call it a sauce mash!)

  • Taste test and season with a pinch more of the spices if desired. (I always add more!)

  • Fold pasta (about a quarter of the batch at a time) into the sauce mash. Make sure each noodle is coated!

  • Top with remaining Jarlsberg cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

  • Dinner is served!

This recipe makes about 4-6 servings. It was A LOT for our family of two! Best part is that we couldn't wait to dive into our leftovers the second night. *Leftover Tip: re-heat in a skillet on the stove top and add a little vegetable stock to get the juices flowing in the sauce mash again!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.