Pepita Pesto Pasta w/ Roasted Squash

SQUASH! Are you binging on squash like I am? In the span of one week I made this here pasta and this fab salad. SQUASH!

I almost cut my hand off while cubing up a butternut squash but that's a different post all together.


I digress...

Let's talk about this pasta. If you're a pesto fan and want to shake things up, GET ON THIS PESTO immediately.

Take your traditional pesto and SHAKE IT UP with cilantro, jalapenos, pepitas & parsley. It kinda reminds me of guacamole.

Throw in the sweetness of roasted butternut squash in a large bowl of cooked penne pasta then finish with a squeeze of lime for tang & a huge dose of grated Parmesan for creaminess and you're in business.

The flavor business...which is the best business to be in.

And we're off!

Ingredient gathering.

The hardest part... I'm surprised I still have fingers.

Chop up the whole squash.

Put the cubes on a roasting sheet, grate fresh nutmeg on top and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.

PESTO TIME!  Parsley & cilantro get whirred in a food processor with olive oil.

Add in the pepitas, jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, and Parmesan cheese.

PEPITA PESTO! I bet it would be great in tacos.

Roasted squash!

Add the squash to the cooked penne. Reserve some of the pasta water.

Stir in the pesto and add some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.


I don't want to tell you how much I ate before I took this picture.

I'll give you a secret. It was a lot.

Pepita Pesto Pasta w/ Roasted Squash

serves 4
recipe slightly adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1  1/2 lbs. butternut squash, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • nutmeg, for grating
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pepitas
  • 2 jalapeño chile peppers, seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or pasted
  • Juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water.

While the pasta is working, on a baking sheet, drizzle the squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Roast until tender and charred at the edges, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a food processor, pulse 1/3 cup olive oil, herbs, cheese, pepitas, chiles, garlic and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pesto, reserved pasta-cooking water and squash to the drained pasta. Toss gently and squeeze a little lime juice on top & serve.


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  • October 29, 2012

    perfect squash cubes! they're sliced to perfection!

    and love the pepitas, the pesto, the whole thing!

  • Laura / lem_monade
    October 29, 2012

    oh my, this sounds (and looks) geniously incredible!
    thank you for the inspiration, as always

  • October 29, 2012

    I am freaking out over that pesto! guacamole-esque pesto, I can get with it.

  • Pam
    October 29, 2012

    Going to try this tonight!

  • October 29, 2012

    Looks like the perfect fall dish!!

  • October 29, 2012

    I am a HUGE pesto fan, and this sounds down right fantabulous! A spicy fall dinner, my fav!

  • October 29, 2012

    Ohh another perfect pesto recipe! I've been eyed pepitas, so this is the perfect chance to use them!

  • Kris
    October 29, 2012

    I JUST bought a big bag of raw pepitas at Trader Joe's YESTERDAY. Kismet.

  • October 29, 2012

    That pepita pesto is sooooooooooo my soul. Ugh. Love this.

  • October 29, 2012

    I almost had a similar accident with a spaghetti squash. I = idiot on more than one occasion.

    I bet this pesto would be fantastic drizzled on a quesadilla, too! Yum!

  • October 29, 2012

    Loving the colors of this dish. Looks so good!

  • MaryBeth
    October 29, 2012

    I'm going to make this, I have the cutest little squash in my cellar!

    When I'm peeling a squash, I halve the whole thing across, not lengthwise and then I have a solid base to work with and I just cut off the peel instead of playing nick your finger with a slippery squash! It works like a charm and no nicked digits! :)

  • October 29, 2012

    oh my god this looks amazing! and i love pumpkin seeds, so i can't wait to try this.

    and peeling butternut squash is the WORST!!

  • October 29, 2012

    Ummm yeah, congrats on not losing your hand. Butternut squash are difficult.

    Pesto made with jalapeno is where it's at. Love all the unique flavors in this!

  • October 29, 2012

    If you microwave your squash for a few minutes it will be super easy to cut. I throw it in whole. Then afterwards I roast it. Best finger saving tip ever!!

  • October 29, 2012

    Yum! I love a spicy pesto! I also think sometimes I need a small tomahawk to get through the butternut squash skin! Although since I am a kitchen klutz too, I would never allow myself to be the one to operate it!

  • October 29, 2012

    That does it! I've gotta try cilantro-pepita pesto. Looks SO good!

  • heather
    October 29, 2012

    Making it! my squash is in the oven, pesto is made, just waiting to boil the pasta. looks delish, and smells even betta.

  • Natasha
    October 29, 2012

    Yummy...must make this tomorrow for dinner...Oh - and your Brother has beautiful hands - ummmm- sorry - just saying is all :)

    - Natasha

  • October 29, 2012

    This is brilliant! I need to really look for squash here because they aren't the cheapest and most available BUT I know where I can get them. So many squash and pumpkin recipes to try!

  • October 30, 2012

    I've been obesessed with cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto lately. I toss it with carrot and parsnip ribbons to create a raw "fettucine" and it's super tasty on scrambled eggs with a little cotija or feta cheese wrapped in warm corn tortillas. This butternut pasta looks great too!

    • Tracy
      October 30, 2012

      Wow! That sounds fantastic. I love the idea of using it with eggs. Thanks!

  • October 30, 2012

    Holy Crap! That looks fabulous! I have butternut squash up the wazoo from our CSA, so I'm desperate for some new tricks.

  • October 31, 2012

    Love the pepita addition!! Zing! Going to make, thanks.
    Heidi xo

  • Jessica
    November 6, 2012

    Yum, thanks Tracy! I made this for dinner last night but with pappardelle instead of penne. It was delicious - I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch!

    • Tracy
      November 6, 2012

      Fantastic! I LOOOOVE pappardelle!

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