Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta Recipe

Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta recipe by Underground CrafterIt’s getting cold outside and that means a shift in the types of veggies that I’m eating. Something about the fall just calls out for butternut squash, don’t you think?

Last year, I figured out how to make butternut squash in the slow cooker and that means more butternut squash for me and MC!

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterBefore, I was too worried about slicing open my hands while attempting to cut the squash in half and too cheap to buy the pre-cut butternut squash at the grocery store. Now that my fingers are preserved for crocheting and knitting and my wallet is a wee bit heavier, I can actually start contemplating what to make with butternut squash! This pasta recipe has become a quick weeknight favorite.

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not a huge fan of sauce, but if you need more sauce, you can either add diced tomatoes or additional broth with butter or olive oil along with the kale. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta

Recipe by Underground Crafter

Makes

  • 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium butternut squash, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 8 ounces penne, or other pasta.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter.
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) chopped pecans, or other nuts.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • 5 ounces baby kale, or baby spinach.
  • 2 Tablespoons broth, or water.
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil.

Instructions

Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta recipe by Underground Crafter

  • Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.
  • While the pasta cooks, in large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add pecans and butternut squash, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and heat until softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add kale, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add broth or water and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted.
  • Strain pasta.
  • Add pasta and olive oil to butternut squash kale mixture. Toss until thoroughly mixed. Serve.

How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Slow Cooker

I am not much of a squash person in general, but butternut squash has always been the exception. My mom’s butternut squash soup is a Thanksgiving favorite, and I have quite a few pasta and one-pot dinner recipes that I like to add butternut squash to.

But… I have terrible knife skills, so the traditional “slice it in half, bake it in the oven” preparation method has always scared me off. Lately, I’ve been more budget concious, too, so spending extra to buy pre-sliced squash seems ridiculous.

I guess it’s no surprise that there would be a slow cooker solution. (It seems like the slow cooker comes to the rescue a lot when saving money is a priority.) While flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, Beth Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, I discovered that butternut squash can be prepared in the slow cooker. Now I can enjoy my favorite squash more affordably without worrying about my fingers. (I need those to stay healthy so I can keep crocheting and knitting!)


Here’s my technique for cooking butternut squash in the slow cooker.

Start by selecting a squash that fits in your slow cooker.

I can fit two small to medium squashes in mine, so I usually prepare two at once.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterRemove the stem and place the squash in the slow cooker.

I just snap the stem off with my bare hands. Side benefit: It makes me feel super strong (unlike when I attempt to open a jar).

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterAdd just 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water for each butternut squash. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours.

There is a lot of variation among slow cookers (and butternut squash), so your time may vary. When it’s fork tender, it’s ready.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterIf you plan to make a soup or another dish where you’ll puree the squash, you may want to keep it in longer so it can get even softer.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground Crafter

Allow the squash to cool, and then peel the skin off with a paring knife.

The skin should come off very easily at this point.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker by Underground Crafter 6Chop the long stem of the squash into pieces appropriately sized for your recipe.

If you’re not sure what you plan to make with the squash yet, I recommend dicing it into bite-sized pieces.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterCut the rounded bulb of the squash in half.

Remove the seeds. These can be discarded or used in recipes calling for squash seeds. Chop the rest of the bulb into pieces appropriately sized for your recipe.

How to cook butternut squash in the slow cooker tutorial by Underground CrafterPrepared squash can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. I usually prep the squash on the weekend so it’s ready to go for a quick weeknight dinner. Enjoy!