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Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe

Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe

Think of this butternut cacio e pepe recipe as pasta cacio e pepe...with sausage. Check out step-by-step photos here.


  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet loose Italian sausage, casings removed, torn into small pieces
  • 3 ounces Parmesan, finely crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Real Talk: If all you have is whole peppercorns and a pepper mill, measuring out pepper can be a bit tricky. Keep in mind that 1 tsp. is about 30 turns of the mill. Or place 1 tsp. peppercorns in a freezer bag (a regular bag may not hold up to all the abuse) and pound with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet until crushed. Or just add as much as you want!

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Mix garlic and butter in a large bowl until garlic is evenly distributed. Add squash, sausage, cheese, salt, and pepper and toss until squash is evenly coated in garlic-butter mixture.

  • Scrape into a medium heatproof skillet, cover tightly with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until squash is tender and lightly browned around the edges, 20–30 minutes more.

Reviews SectionI’m a loyal bon appetit girl but this is the first time I’ve ever written a review. This recipe was amazing! It really took me by surprise. It seems simple, like you’d just end up with roasted squash but it was an impressive full dinner. The thin slices of squash really make a difference and imitate pasta. I also served this on raw kale greens as another review mentioned. It added the perfect balance!kimmidAustin, Texas04/28/20This was awesome and perfectly fit my dinner-making style (aka, chop + mix and stick in the oven). I used spicy italian sausage and served it on a bed of kale greens. I look forward to making this again!AnonymousNew York, NY12/19/19This is one of the tastiest and easiest recipes I've ever made, I LOVE IT.AnonymousBaltimore, MD09/26/19This was outstanding. I have nothing else to say.bwink01Hershey, PA09/24/19Another recipe from BA that changed the minds of my family (who swore beforehand that they'd hate it). I prepared as per the recipe, and it was definitely delicious, but the next time I will pre-cook the sausage and drain it first.lworkman0907Richmond, IN10/29/18I’m a vegetarian so I made this with crumbled-up Field Roast Apple & Sage vegan sausage, uncooked. AND IT RULED. Made it in a cast-iron skillet and let it sit in the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes after I turned off the heat so it got extra caramelized around the edges. Delicious. Amazing. I’m making it again for the third time in a week as I write this.AnonymousPortland11/11/17Very easy prep. Made this tonight for a Monday night dinner. I did pre-cook and drain the sausage as the other reviewer suggested. My husband enjoyed the meal very much. I said that I would try it without sausage next time, and he said he likes it just as it is. I was going to garnish with some toasted walnuts but didn’t have any in my pantry, so I used roasted pistachios instead.AnonymousOrlando, FL11/06/17SQUASHIO E PEPE! Great for a weeknight dinner, would be excellent as a Thanksgiving side, and impressed a friend I hadn't seen in 9 years. It takes a few extra minutes, but I like to render the fat out of the sausage and crisp it up a bit before putting it in the oven, rather than putting it in raw.

Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe - Recipes

I still remember the first time I tasted pasta cacio e pepe. That summer, I stayed with a family in Rome and had a truly Italian experience. I ate like a Roman and visited all the wonderful sights that the eternal city had to offer. One day in particular, I met an Italian friend for lunch and I asked her to order me something typical of the region, to eat. When the plate arrived with pasta cacio e pepe, I thought it looked nice but maybe a little plain. Boy, was I wrong! It packed a punch of flavour and I recreated it many times in my own kitchen back home.

Fast forward many years later, I created this dish: Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe as an homage to my Roman holiday. It’s obviously not the same without the pasta but I think it’s still delicious in its simplicity. Butternut squash noodles suit this recipe much better than zucchini (courgette) noodles. The Italians are obsessed with cooking their pasta “al dente”. Essentially, they mean that pasta should have a little bite to it. They’re right. Let’s face it. There is nothing worse than soggy, overcooked pasta. Butternut squash noodles maintain their texture as they are only cooked briefly and that lends itself very well to this recipe.

Cacio e pepe literally means “cheese and black pepper” which sounds quite boring but is actually deliciously full of flavour. As always, when the ingredients are few, use the best you can afford. Typically, you should use a mixture of Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano cheeses. If you don’t have access to either of those, Parmesan is a good substitute but a native would notice the difference. If you have a local Italian supplier near you, it’s worth going to find specialty cheeses and a great olive oil. We’re regulars at our local Italian store. They even offer us a free espresso when we arrive. Now, that’s what I call Italian hospitality!

Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side dishes 1 x
  • Category: healthy, side dish, vegetarian, gluten-free
  • Cuisine: Italian


Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe! If you like cacio e pepe (cheese and black pepper pasta) then you’ve gotta try this grain-free, vegetable version with spaghetti squash and kale.

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side dishes 1 x
  • Category: healthy, side dish, vegetarian, gluten-free
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side dishes 1 x
  • Category: healthy, side dish, vegetarian, gluten-free
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 large or 2 medium spaghetti squash halved and seeds removed
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups thinly sliced kale
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup grated (or freshly grated) parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the spaghetti squash and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minutes until squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands.
  2. While the squash is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously, until garlic is just soft taking care not to burn. Add the kale and cook until tender. Scrape the spaghetti squash into strands and toss with the kale.
  3. Add the vegetable broth along with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and black pepper. Toss continuously until cheese is melted. Add more cheese, in 1/4 cup increments, tossing the entire time. Season to taste, adding more black pepper and salt as needed and serve very hot.


Don’t stress over the amounts of spaghetti squash and parmesan cheese. These are rough estimates, so if you have larger squashes, you’ll just need to add more cheese and a few splashes more of vegetable broth. Since you typically use pasta water to help adhere the cheese to pasta, you’ll need the vegetable broth so that the cheese creates a sauce and the squash isn’t too dry.

Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe - Recipes

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Healthy Cooking: Lighten up cacio e pepe with spaghetti squash

The hardest thing about cooking spaghetti squash is identifying which of the many squash currently in the market is actually the spaghetti variety. This amazingly low-calorie, gluten-free substitute for pasta is a hulk of a veggie, vaguely resembling the yellow, oblong body a child draws on a homemade Mother’s Day card. It’s longer than an acorn squash, and without the narrow neck of a butternut squash. Cut it in half horizontally around the middle, and you will see telltale stringy fibers that look like spaghetti noodles. It’s one of the most tasty and versatile vegetables of the season. And it couldn’t be easier to prepare.

Start by scraping out the seeds and any loose strings. Then place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast it in a high-heat oven for 30-45 minutes like actual pasta, you can vary the cook time to create noodles that are either firmer or more tender. Run a fork around the inside to scrape the flesh into noodles. And be sure to keep the outer rinds. The cooked shells double as bowls, which are festive and keep the cleanup easy.

Spaghetti squash noodles taste slightly sweet and naturally buttery. Their texture is ethereal, making spaghetti squash an ideal partner for lighter sauces. You can toss your squash noodles with a can of diced tomatoes, plus garlic, basil and crushed red pepper for a low-calorie weeknight Pasta Pomodoro. No olive oil is necessary — unlike traditional pasta noodles, squash noodles are naturally juicy. While the delicate noodles don’t stand up to heavy handfuls of mozzarella, a la lasagna, cheese lovers will enjoy this Cacio e Pepe. Literally translated as “cheese and pepper,” Cacio e Pepe is ready as quickly as it takes you to sprinkle cheese and twist the pepper mill.

There are a few easy tricks that allow me to get away with a cheese-forward recipe in a healthy cooking column. I use Pecorino Romano, which is a sheep’s milk cheese that is similar to cow’s milk Parmesan, but more flavorful. The stronger flavor means we can use less of it without sacrificing taste. For additional savory notes, I add nutritional yeast. Not to be confused with bread-baking yeast, nutritional yeast offers cheesy, salty (but sodium-free) umami and also a generous dose of B vitamins. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk-foods aisle of most grocery stores, which means you can purchase the exact amount you want. (For this recipe, I needed less than a dollar’s worth of “nooch.”) Because black pepper features prominently in the recipe, I pass over the shaker of ground pepper and instead crack whole peppercorns in a pepper mill. Peppercorns offer a brightness you can instantly identify, the same way you can now find the spaghetti squash among the gourds.

Make Ormsby's chef's recipe for cacio e pepe using in-season spaghetti squash

9 a.m. – noon. Saturday, Oct. 8 and 15. "Applehaven - A celebration of all things apple." Activities include kids' coloring contest and games, apple tastings and a costume contest. 10 – 11 a.m. Saturday October 8, market chef John Pastor will work with pork and fresh apples. 10 – 11 a.m. Saturday, October 15, PeachDish (CQ) will cook with apples. Brookhaven Farmers Market, Brookhaven.

4:30 p.m.– 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Chef Carolynn Ladd of A Date with Figs demonstrates dishes using market produce. East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, Atlanta.

9 a.m. Saturday, October 8. Chefs Bruce Logue of Bocca Lupo. Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta.

10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Chef Matt Marcus of Portofino. Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Atlanta.

4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12. Chef Paola Villafane demonstrates dishes using market produce. Decatur Farmers Decatur, Atlanta.

Just appearing at local markets: collards, sweet potatoes, turnips

Vegetables, fruit and nuts: apples, arugula, Asian greens, carrots, chard, corn, cornmeal, cucumbers, eggplant, elephant garlic, field peas, garlic, grits, herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, Malabar spinach, melons, muscadines, mushrooms, noodle beans, okra, onions, pecans, peppers, pole and snap beans, polenta, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spaghetti squash, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, winter squash

Jeff Anthony of The Family Farmer farms on 43 acres with a Stockbridge address but just over the line in Rockdale County. He and partner Rodney Gabriel farmed on leased land in Kennesaw for two years, and this is their first year on their new property.

Anthony firmly believes in growing two things – what the market demands and what the market would find interesting. He began growing collards because his Marietta Square Farmers Market customers wanted to know when he would have collard greens at market. It turned out they also wanted to know when he would be selling spaghetti squash.

“Growing up in Michigan, we didn’t eat spaghetti squash. Same thing with okra. I didn’t know what they tasted like. When we thought ‘squash’ we thought of butternut and acorn and then zucchini. The whole world of squash is just different here. When our customers say they want summer squash, they mean yellow squash whether crookneck or straight neck. They don’t consider zucchini or patty pan as summer squash. But in Michigan, any squash you can’t keep over the winter is a summer squash.”

But when his customers started asking for spaghetti squash, he and Gabriel did their research and now they’re growing two 100-foot beds of spaghetti squash with seed they purchased from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Each sprawling plant will produce about six good-size squash. “The squash get to be about as big as a football, maybe 11 to 12 inches long and six inches wide. They seem to be doing really well in our soil here. The land was used as pasture and this is the first time it’s been plowed since the 1970s.”

Spaghetti squash is the first of the semi-hard shell squashes to be ready each year. The farm planted its seeds in early May and was able to start harvesting squash about the middle of July, one of the first of the “winter” squash to be ready to eat.

“We know it’s ready to harvest when the fruit is bright yellow and the stems start to turn brown. The plants are fine, but the stems are drying and we know they’re ready to come off the plants. When first harvested, the skin will be a little rubbery, but then they dry and will keep pretty well. Not as long as a hard winter squash, but longer than a crookneck or zucchini.”

Spaghetti squash is always cooked in the shell until the flesh is tender enough to separate it into strands. Some cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and bake the squash until it’s tender. Then holding the squash in an oven mitt or dish towel, they rake out the flesh which separates into long strands that look for all the world like spaghetti. Others follow the same preparation steps but cook it lightly covered in the microwave.

Nick Anderson’s Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is a classic Italian pasta dish dressed with cheese and pepper. Chef Nick Anderson of Ormsby’s in West Midtown created this recipe to take advantage of the pasta-like qualities of spaghetti squash.

When shopping for the ingredients, you may find rapini labeled as broccoli raab.

1 (2 1/2 – 3 pound) spaghetti squash

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced rapini

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Rub squash interior with 2 tablespoons butter. Put 1 garlic clove in each half and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes or until squash shreds easily with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then using a fork, pull out the squash threads. Discard garlic cloves. Set squash shreds aside.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Slice remaining two garlic cloves and add to butter along with shallot. Stir in reserved squash shreds, rapini and black pepper. Toss, then add vegetable stock and wine. Continue cooking mixture until sauce reduces by half. Stir in pecorino, toss and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately. Makes: 5 cups

Per 1-cup serving: 387 calories (percent of calories from fat, 64), 12 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 28 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 79 milligrams cholesterol, 628 milligrams sodium.

𠇊s soon as there&aposs a nip in the evening air, my mind turns to campfires or, more specifically, campfire s&aposmores. I&aposve got my eye on these Salted Caramel S&aposmores not just because of the caramel sauce but also for the homemade graham crackers. I mean, just look at that photo!” –Sarah Crowder, digital photo editor

𠇊s autumn hits and the days start to get cooler, I start thinking about braising. Can’t help it. And, being a wine editor, I also love recipes that incorporate wine. Can’t help that either, I guess! Regardless, this slow-braised lamb shoulder from chef Mike Davis turns dark and glossy, and the meat is so tender it almost falls apart under your fork. Use an affordable Syrah to cook it, and splurge a little on a good Syrah from Washington State to pour alongside. (And serve it with Davis’ fluffy, creamy herbed potato soufflé [pictured].)” –Ray Isle, executive wine editor

Chicken Breasts: Juicy roasted chicken breasts add protein to make this a complete meal.

Olive Oil and Butter: Olive oil is traditional but I like to add butter as well for extra flavor and creaminess. It also encourages the cheese to melt rather than clump together.

Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini: Adding a couple of vegetables brightens the dish. I love adding cherry tomatoes and zucchini at the end of summer when both are plentiful. Make sure to chop the vegetables into small bite-sized 1-inch pieces. You could also swap out the tomatoes and zucchini for many other vegetable combinations.

  • Broccoli and Carrots
  • Asparagus and Peas (Fresh or Thawed): Don’t worry about roasting the peas first. They are so small they will cook once added to the sauce.
  • Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Short Pasta: Classic cacio e pepe is made with spaghetti or bucatini, but with the addition of chicken and vegetables I think a shorter pasta works better. Use a short pasta like penne, gemelli, rotini, or shells.

You will notice that the recipe starts cooking the pasta in cold water rather than boiling water. There are several great reasons to start cooking the pasta in cold water:

  • It takes less energy to heat. Since we are using less water, the water will start to boil faster.
  • The pasta will be done faster. When pasta is cooked it isn’t only the heat that softens it. Pasta also absorbs water as it cooks. As the pasta hydrates, it softens. This is also why it is important to salt your pasta water. As the pasta absorbs water it also absorbs salt seasoning it from the inside out.
  • The pasta water is more concentrated. This dish relies upon starchy pasta water to give it a silky, creamy texture. By cooking the pasta in less water the starch content is more concentrated.

Starchy water: Save a cup of the water the pasta was cooked in. This starchy pasta water will create an emulsion with the oil, butter, and cheese to create a creamy, rich sauce.

Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Avoid using preground pepper. Once the pepper is ground it begins to lose flavor. Freshly ground peppercorns will provide the most flavor. There are several great methods for grinding pepper.

  • Use a coffee grinder. I have a coffee grinder that is used just for grinding spices. It is the fastest and least labor-intensive way of grinding fresh spices.
  • Mash them up with a mortar and pestle.
  • Use your favorite pepper mill.

Romano Cheese: Traditional recipes use Pecorino Romano but many recipes use Parmesan although Romano cheese is more flavorful. Both kinds of cheese are reluctant to melt due to their age and dryness.

This means it is important to grate the cheese as finely as possible (a Microplane works great for this). Be sure to add the cheese off the heat to help prevent clumping.

Note: Freshly grated cheese is best. Don’t use the pre-grated stuff in the green can or your sauce will be gritty and clumpy.

Fresh Herbs: I always have a surplus of fresh herbs growing in my garden. I like to finish cacio e peppe by topping it with a mixture of freshly chopped herbs. Some of my favorites include thyme, parsley, oregano, and basil.

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Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Vegetable Curry Is The Perfect Way to Use Up All That Squash

When fall comes around one of the first things we like to do is head to the farmer’s market, not just so we can stock up on apple cider, apple cider donuts, and, well, apples, but also so that we can finally take advantage of the abundance of winter squash and other hardy root vegetables that come into their own during the cooler months. And while we’d never turn our noses up at mashed or roasted squash, sometimes we’re craving something a little different &ndash and Jamie Oliver‘s roasted vegetable curry recipe is just that.

In his recipe, he uses carrots, zucchini, parsnip, and butternut squash, but he says you can use potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and basically any root vegetable you want. You could also swap out the butternut squash for another sweet winter squash variety &ndash red kuri, kabocha, and dumpling squash would all be delicious.

He puts curry paste and oil right in a roasting pan (you can use curry powder, too) along with vinegar and salt. Then, he chops up the veggies, leaving the skin on &ndash yes, even on the squash! &ndash and puts those in the roasting pan.

As the veggies roast, the spices in the curry paste bloom in the oil, and the veg starts to caramelize, which develops a ton of flavor. In the meantime, Jamie makes a quick sauce using garlic, ginger, tomato, and mango chutney (though you can sub apricot jam and some spices), with some coconut milk added at the end for a rich dose of creamy flavor.

After roasting for about an hour, the flavorful spiced veggies are ready to be added to the simmering sauce. You can also add frozen veg if you’d like &ndash Oliver opts for frozen peas and some chickpeas, which add extra protein and nutrients to the dish.

Served with rice, naan, or pita bread, it’s the best kind of meatless winter meal, one that warms you up from the inside out while giving your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong against the cold weather.

Watch the video: Butternut Squash Cacio e Pepe (December 2021).