An easy and elegant vegetarian pasta recipe with roasted delicata squash, caramelized onion, chili, creamy Parmesan sauce and wilted greens.
Take your everyday pasta up a notch with this 30-minute vegetarian recipe featuring sweet roasted delicata squash in a chili-infused Parmesan cream sauce with wilted greens.
Delicata squash is around for a few months in the fall and early winter, and I’m always glad to see it. The beautiful, striated green and sunset-yellow skin is tender when cooked, so there’s no need to peel it — you can just scrape the skin randomly with a vegetable peeler to remove any blemished spots.
The delicata’s flesh roasts up tender and the flavor is nutty and lightly sweet, less so than your average yam or sweet potato.
Of all the winter squash, delicata seems to have the most delicate skin. You don’t have to wrestle with a cleaver in order to cut it into pieces, like some of my other favorite squashes (I’m looking at you, kabocha!).
I love that this pasta is a wholesome, one-dish dinner. You can satisfy your pasta craving (a daily one for me. How about you?), along with a healthy serving of vegetables. I used baby spinach for the dish in the photos, but I’ve made it with torn-up kale and it’s delicious.
Rigatoni pasta has a nice rugged, blocky shape, which blends perfectly with the pieces of roasted chunky squash and catches the bits of creamy sauce, wilted greens and caramelized onion.
You could try cute mezze rigatoni pasta in this recipe instead, if you happen to see them in your grocery store (they’re literally regular rigatoni cut in half), or even penne and shells.
rigatoni pasta with roasted delicata squash and greens
Yield 2 - 4 servings
- 1 small delicata squash (about 10 -12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and sliced lengthwise
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 dried chile de arbol, crumbled, or 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ pound rigatoni or mezze rigatoni
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 2 good handfuls washed baby greens, such as spinach, kale or arugula
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Trim the stem and root end off the squash and slice it in half lengthwise. Slice each half in half again. Scrape a spoon along down the length of the pieces to remove the seeds and cut into ½-inch wide chunks. Put the squash in a large mixing bowl.
- Add olive oil, salt, shallots, garlic and chili to the squash and toss together. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast 20 -25 minutes; the squash should be tender and nicely brown. Drizzle the balsamic over the squash as soon as it comes out of the oven and stir around gently with a spatula.
- While the squash is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the rigatoni until al dente. Before draining the pasta, add the greens to the colander. The brief contact with the boiling pasta water will wilt the greens.
- Transfer the pasta and greens back to the cooking pot and stir in the cream and Parmesan.
- Add the squash to the pasta along with a few handfuls of greens and toss together. Serve hot with additional cheese and chili, if you like.