Quick and Easy

Miso & Butternut Squash Pasta

February  2, 2023
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I am the queen of simple pasta recipes; I firmly believe you can turn almost any vegetable into a pasta sauce with a little bit of time and love. This one is especially easy with a short ingredient list and even less hands-on cook time! Our pasta sauce consists of three simple but strong ingredients: roasted squash, roasted garlic, and red miso paste. The squash is basted with a touch of honey and apple cider vinegar to bring out the natural sweetness during its time in the oven. While the garlic bulb is wrapped in tin foil and left to caramelize alongside. This part of the recipe takes a little bit of time, up to an hour, but it’s hands-off, so you can go do other stuff or stare at your oven, Great British Bake Off style, no judgment here.

Then it’s time to blend, placing the roasted squash flesh, caramel-y soft garlic, and red miso paste into your food processor. You’ll want to thin out and bind the sauce with some pasta water but…that's it! You’re finished. We can keep this vegan or top your pasta with some grated parmesan, but it really is delicious as is. The red miso adds the complex umami flavors you would get from a cheese-based sauce and the squash is thick and creamy, coating the noodles of your choice in a bright orange blanket.

I recommend using a butternut, acorn, or kabocha squash for this recipe. Also, it’s important to use red miso specifically because of its strong flavor and salinity; white or yellow miso isn’t quite strong enough to stand up to the sweetness of the squash.
Becca Jacobs

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, see headnote*
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 1 head garlic
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound pasta of choice
  • 1 tablespoon red miso paste
  • parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, for topping (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425°F and prepare a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cut the ends off your squash and then cut it in half lengthwise to maximize the surface area that is placed on the sheet pan. Scrape out the seeds.
  2. In a small bowl add the honey and then the vinegar. Let the vinegar sit on top of the honey until it is dissolved and a homogeneous liquid has formed. Whisk in one tablespoon of the oil. Using a pastry brush, or a spoon, coat the cut side of the squash and place it cut side down on the sheet pan.
  3. Cut the top off the garlic head and place it on a square of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the entire head. Pour one tablespoon of the oil into the cracks of the head and seal it with tin foil. Place the tinfoil-wrapped garlic on the sheet pan with the squash. Roast for 50 minutes to an hour, flipping the squash halfway through until the squash flesh can be pierced effortlessly with a fork.
  4. In the last 10 minutes of cook time, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook to al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  5. Remove the squash and garlic from the oven and add 3 cups worth of the roasted squash flesh to the base of a food processor along with the peeled roasted garlic. Add the red miso to the food processor and run it for about 2 minutes until the mixture looks smooth and without stringy pieces of squash. While the food processor is running, stream in half of the reserved pasta water to emulsify the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt as necessary, (I usually end up adding about two teaspoons).
  6. Add the cooked pasta back to the pot along with the miso squash sauce and toss vigorously with the remaining pasta water until the noodles are glossy and fully coated. Divide amongst bowls and serve as is, or with grated parmesan cheese.

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1 Review

Melissa Y. April 18, 2023
This was a deceptively easy and flavorful dish. The first three steps alone are divine: I may never prepare butternut squash another way again. Be warned that if your family is used to white miso, the red miso adds a level of funk that may not be well received by the younger or blue cheese averse sets (One of the comments was "this tastes like there's blue cheese in it", which makes sense given the flavor profile of red miso). I roasted cauliflower at the same time as the squash to add some more vegetables to the finished pasta without affecting the overall flavor profile. I really love the idea of turning butternut squash into a sauce! So many ways to play with it besides pasta! Thanks for the idea!