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brown butter acorn squash pasta in a bowl

Brown Butter Acorn Squash Pasta with Toasted Hazelnuts + Sage

Incredible brown butter acorn squash pasta tossed with toasted hazelnuts, sage, and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan. This wonderful pasta dish has a sweet & savory acorn squash sauce and is the perfect comfort food for fall and winter!

Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword acorn squash pasta
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 567 kcal
Author Monique Volz of AmbitiousKitchen.com


  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • ½ cup milk (I use unsweetened almondmilk), plus more if necessary to thin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup salted butter (yes, salted!)
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (or sub pasta of choice, even GF!)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • To garnish:
  • 4 sages leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • Shaved or grated parmesan


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Use a sharp knife to cut off the stem end of the acorn squash, you’ll cut about ¼-½ inch off the end. Place the acorn squash cut side down vertically on a wooden cutting board so that it is very secured to your counter. We don’t want the cutting board or squash to wobble as you cut it. Next cut the acorn squash in half vertically. Use your knife to cut the acorn squash vertically down the middle. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash halves flesh side down on your prepared baking sheet. Roast for 50 minutes-1 hour or until squash is very fork tender. Set aside to cool for a little bit before scooping out the flesh.

  3. While the squash is cooking: you can toast the hazelnuts: place a large skillet over medium low heat. Add in hazelnuts and toast for 2-3 minutes until nice and golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add flesh to a high powered blender or food processor and add in milk, pure maple syrup, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Blend until smooth, adding more milk if necessary to smooth out the sauce. Set aside.

  5. In the same pan that you toasted the hazelnuts, you can brown your butter: add butter and place over medium heat. The butter will begin to melt, crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you stir constantly during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan, this usually happens right when it foams. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Set aside to cool a bit (keeping butter in the pan but removing pan from heat) while you cook your pasta.
  6. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the brown butter, give it a nice stir to coat all the pasta with the brown butter, then immediately add in the acorn squash sauce and garlic powder; stir again until nice and creamy. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of black pepper!). Garnish with sage and your toasted hazelnuts, and fresh shaved parmesan; stirring into the pasta if desired.

Recipe Notes

We recommend using spaghetti or bucatini or a similar noodle for best results, though a fusilli or linguine could also be delicious!

To make gluten free: use a gluten free pasta of choice.

Feel free to use honeynut or butternut squash, sweet potato or pumpkin instead of acorn squash. I do not recommend using a canned squash/pumpkin for this recipe as the flavor won’t be as delicious.

If you want a richer pasta, I suggest using heavy cream instead of milk. See the full post for more ways to add protein!

Nutrition Facts
Brown Butter Acorn Squash Pasta with Toasted Hazelnuts + Sage
Amount Per Serving (1 serving (based on 4))
Calories 567 Calories from Fat 211
% Daily Value*
Fat 23.4g36%
Saturated Fat 8.3g52%
Carbohydrates 76.8g26%
Fiber 5.5g23%
Sugar 5.5g6%
Protein 14.5g29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.