This Butternut Squash Fettuccini Alfredo with Brown Butter and Rosemary is the ultimate fall recipe. A rich, aromatic, thick, creamy sauce (with 65% fewer calories than traditional Alfredo!) smothers every piece of pasta. It’s a great way to “hide” veggies! And best of all- you can freeze the sauce for later.
Ever have one of those meals that you just can’t get out of your head? Like a movie with such a great ending that you keep thinking about it for the rest of the day? This Butternut Squash Fettuccini Alfredo with Brown Butter and Rosemary is that meal.
Butternut squash, brown butter, and fresh rosemary. Three of my greatest (food) loves of all time combine to form the creamiest, most aromatic, and potentially most delicious pasta sauce you will ever have.
The Butternut Alfredo sauce is so easy to make. It uses only one pot. It’s ready in under 30 minutes. AND it’s make-ahead friendly: make the sauce and freeze or refrigerate until you want to use it.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fettuccini – or any other pasta shape or type you prefer (gluten-free, whole wheat, chickpea, etc. also work well here)
- Butternut Squash – peeled and diced.
- Butter – I prefer salted butter for extra flavor. You can use a vegan butter or olive oil if needed.
- Fresh Rosemary – Chop it up as finely as you can. You can use dried in a pinch- just crumble it up a bit before adding it (and use 1 teaspoon instead of 1 tablespoon).
- Chicken or Vegetable Stock – you can use water in a pinch.
- Milk – preferably whole milk. You can use half and half or cream for a richer version, or low-fat if you like. Use coconut milk for a vegan version.
- Onion – diced, I suggest either yellow white.
- Salt, pepper, parmesan for serving (optional)
How to make Butternut Squash Fettuccini Alfredo
- Brown the butter. Melt butter in a large deep skillet, then crank the heat to high and stir/whisk constantly until it foams on top and the butter turns brown. This is a good time to bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta as well.
- Add onions and rosemary. Adding the onions and rosemary will stop the browning process, so as soon as the butter browns add these in. Sauté until they are soft.
- Add the chicken stock and butternut squash. Bring it to a boil, cover, and let the squash cook until tender.
- Cook the pasta. I like to wait until this point so that the pasta doesn’t sit around waiting for the sauce to be done.
- Mash the cooked squash with a potato masher. Just break it up a bit.
- Add milk and blend with an immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender, in batches if needed.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and serve!
Why it’s healthier than traditional Alfredo sauce
Have you ever made Alfredo sauce from scratch? It, too, is delicious, but certainly not very healthy. It’s usually made with a stick of butter, heavy cream, and lots of parmesan cheese.
A typical Alfredo sauce has almost 500 calories per serving. This butternut squash pasta sauce has 172. That’s almost 65% fewer calories than Alfredo sauce!
Even though this butternut squash sauce is a much healthier alternative to Alfredo sauce, it will fulfill your need for a rich and creamy sauce to satisfyingly coat each fettuccini noodle as you twirl it around your fork (ah… life’s simple pleasures).
And while Alfredo sauce is delicious mostly because of it’s salt and high fat content, this sauce is delicious because of it’s rich combination of earthy and aromatic flavors without any significant sacrifice.
There is a good amount of butter in the sauce, but half that of a typical Alfredo sauce. There is no cheese at all (and trust me – a cheese fanatic – when I tell you that you won’t miss it!).
Plus, since the base of it is butternut squash, you get a hearty serving of healthy butternut squash veggies in each serving! This is a great way to “hide” veggies with picky eaters.
Tips and tricks
- Use an immersion blender to easily blend the sauce right in the pot. You can use a blender if you want, but let’s be honest… it’s a pain to take out, wash, and transfer the mixture back and forth. An immersion blender is like a magic wand that you stick in the sauce (or soup, or whatever you are making), turn on, and viola! Blended. Go get you one.
- Double the sauce and freeze half. Then, you’ll have an extra super easy fast meal for which you’ll only have to boil pasta! Future you will thank you.
- The sauce doubles as a soup. Yup- just serve the sauce as a creamy butternut squash soup! YUM. You may need to thin it out a bit with some extra chicken broth.
- Buy pre-cut butternut squash, or use frozen, to save time. Peeling butternut squash is a great way to save money but it’s a pain in the neck to do. Save a little time and heartache if you prefer and use the pre-prepped stuff.
Other Butternut Squash Recipes
- Maple Glazed Chicken and Fall Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner
- Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup
- Moroccan Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash
- Fall Minestrone Soup with Butternut Squash and Rosemary
- Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew
Want to use pumpkin instead of butternut squash? Here’s a recipe for Pumpkin Fettuccini Alfredo!
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Butternut Squash Fettuccini Alfredo with Brown Butter and Rosemary
- Large, deep skillet or pot with a lid
- Potato Masher
- 16 oz. fettuccini or any kind of pasta you prefer
- 4 tablespoons butter I prefer salted
- 1 yellow or white onion diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup chicken stock/broth or vegetable stock or, in a pinch, water
- 3 cups diced uncooked butternut squash (from about 1/2 large squash)
- 1 cup milk preferably whole
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- Melt butter (4 tablespoons) in a large skillet with a lid (or pot) over medium heat. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Turn heat to high and stir constantly; butter will begin to foam on the surface and turn brown after about 2 minutes.
- Once butter begins to brown, immediately turn heat to medium and add the diced onion and chopped fresh rosemary (1 tablespoon). Sauté over medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes).
- Add the chicken stock and diced butternut squash. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and simmer on low, until squash is fork-tender (this will take about 10-20 minutes- the smaller it's diced, the shorter time it will take).
- Once the butternut squash is starting to soften, cook fettuccini according to directions in the boiling salted water (I like to wait until this step so the cooked pasta doesn't sit around waiting for the sauce to finish getting dried up and sticky).
- Use a potato masher to mash up the squash directly in the pot. It doesn't have to be smooth- just break it up a bit.
- Add the milk to the squash and stir together.
- Add kosher salt and black pepper to the sauce to taste.
- Add cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve immediately, with parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper if desired.
- Make it Vegan: Substitute the butter with olive oil and skip the “browning” step, or use a vegan butter substitute. Substitute the milk for coconut milk, and be sure to use veggie stock or water in place of chicken stock.
- Time Saving Tip: you can usually buy already prepared (peeled and diced) butternut squash at the store, or you can use frozen.
- Money Saving Tip: peeling and dicing the butternut squash yourself will save you some money. Here’s a great tutorial.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious on November 16, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.