Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Butternut Squash


This quick and easy fall-inspired pasta is the ultimate weeknight dinner.

Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Butternut Squash
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Total Time:
25 mins
4 servings

When the temperatures dip in the fall, it’s time to make this easy butternut squash and sausage pasta. It features a handful of basic ingredients — most of which you likely have at home — and sausage and squash take center stage. The sauce that coats the pasta is remarkably simple, thanks to the pasta water and grated Pecorino Romano. On cool autumn nights when you don’t have the time or energy to labor over dinner, this recipe hits the spot.

Frequently asked questions

Do you peel butternut squash before using it?

Although the skin on butternut squash is edible, it’s not suitable to leave it on for every dish. For some recipes, you can roast halved butternut squash and scoop out the flesh from the skin, avoiding the need to peel the squash altogether. Since this recipe calls for small cubes of squash, we recommend peeling it so that every piece is uniform in color and texture.

Is it better to roast or steam butternut squash?

While roasting and steaming butternut squash are both efficient ways to cook autumn squash, the techniques serve different purposes. Roasting butternut squash is great when you want to serve a simple roasted root vegetable side dish or toss it with pasta or greens for a salad. Doing so will bring out its inherent sweetness, which is further enhanced by the caramelization that happens in the oven. 

On the other hand, steaming butternut squash is a great cooking method for mashes and soups, as it makes it easy to purée the vegetable once tender. Don’t want to turn on the oven? Sautéeing squash in a pan on the stovetop, as we’ve done here, is a quick and efficient way to cook the vegetable and build flavor.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

Save one cup of the pasta water to make the sauce for this pasta; its high starch content will help create a creamy sauce that coats each noodle. Combine the pasta, reserved cooking water, and grated Pecorino Romano and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. 

You can save more of the pasta water in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator to use to revive leftover pasta.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3/4 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 12 ounces farfalle

  • 1/2 cup freshly ground Pecorino Romano

  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the squash, season lightly with salt and cook over high heat, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and sausage and cook over high heat, breaking up the sausage with a spoon, until lightly browned and cooked through. Return the squash to the skillet.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the reserved cooking water and the cheese and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and serve right away.

Originally appeared: February 2010
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