Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta With Leeks 


Frozen butternut squash is the star of this silky pasta sauce. 

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta With Leeks Served in Two White Bowls with Metal Forks on the Side
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

This family-friendly pasta dish will satisfy all of your cravings for creamy, cheesy noodles in just 25 minutes. While the pasta cooks, you'll quickly brown store-bought fried onions for a super-crispy topping. Then you'll make a sauce with frozen mashed butternut squash, leeks, and half-and-half. Toss with the pasta and some Parmesan, and you've got a decidedly grown-up but still kid-pleasing take on mac 'n cheese. Feel free to use rigatoni, fusilli, or penne in place of the cavatappi.


  • 12 ounces cavatappi pasta

  • 1.50 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • ¾ cup crispy fried onions (such as French's)

  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts sliced (2 cups)

  • 1 12-oz. pkg. frozen mashed butternut squash, thawed

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2.50 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1 cup), divided


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Return drained pasta to pot.

  2. Meanwhile, heat ½ tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add fried onions; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a towel-lined plate. Wipe saucepan clean.

  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in saucepan over medium-high. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer ¼ cup leeks to a small bowl. Stir butternut squash and half-and-half into leeks in sauce-pan. Cook over medium, stirring often, until simmering, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in sage, pepper, and half of cheese.

  4. Add sauce and ¼ cup hot pasta water to pasta; stir to combine. Stir in more pasta water as needed to reach desired consistency. Top with reserved leeks, fried onions, and remaining cheese.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

658 Calories
24g Fat
90g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 658
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 426mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 21g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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