Butternut Squash, Kale and Fettuccini with Creamy Ricotta Sage Sauce

Butternut Squash, Kale and Fettuccini with Creamy Ricotta Sage Sauce

It’s Fall again, the weather is finally cooling down, and the holidays are upon us (did the malls really have to put up Christmas decorations pre-Halloween!?) That means it’s time for warm, cozy, comfort foods, winter vegetables are in season, and a hot bowl of creamy fettuccini is just the ticket! This recipe combines the flavors of sweet roasted butternut squash, tender baby kale and hearty, protein rich edamame and mung bean fettuccini all coated in a creamy, herby ricotta sauce. It’s pretty much the cool-weather meal dreams are made of. Not only is this a quick and easy weeknight-friendly meal, but it’s also elegant, flavorful and seasonal enough to serve as a special addition to your Thanksgiving dinner table. 

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If you’ve been following me at all, you know I have a love affair with Explore Cuisine bean pastas. They are hands down, THE best healthy pasta substitute I’ve ever found. They are absolutely loaded with plant-based protein and fiber from the beans they are made with. They also contain less than half the amount of carbohydrates compared to traditional pasta. Oh, and by the way, these are those smart carbohydrates I’m always talking about. (Smart carbs choices come from whole foods and are high in fiber, versus highly processed carbohydrate sources with little to offer in the way of nutrition). Nutrition aside, these noodles taste amazing (no funny bean aftertaste) and the texture is awesome. You can cook them to al dente and they hold any sauce a traditional pasta would. 

If you love pasta and haven’t tried these noodles, go buy them now. If you’re a vegetarian and haven’t tried these noodles, go buy them yesterday. This perfect source of plant protein will rock your veggie-lovin’ world. They come in all different forms from all different types of pulses: organic black bean, edamame, adzuki bean or soybean spaghetti, edamame and mungbean fettuccini, organic chickpea fusilli or spaghetti, organic red and green lentil penne, lasagna and spaghetti. Click here to find them in a store near you or just order them right from Amazon

Can you tell I love them all? They're always stocked in my pantry!

Can you tell I love them all? They're always stocked in my pantry!

Ok, enough gushing about the bean pasta (sorry…it really is that good!). Here are a few more fun facts about the nutritional benefits of this dish of pure happiness: 

  • It’s rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin K from the butternut squash and kale (respectively).
  • Compared to regular creamy pasta sauces like Alfredo, this one is pretty darn healthy! Ricotta is a higher protein cheese and even the whole milk version has far less fat per serving than traditional heavy creams used in cream sauces. 
  • Combined with low fat milk, this recipe gives you all the creaminess and rich texture without all the heaviness and excess calories you might get from a traditional full fat cream sauce. 
  • Sage, the quintessential fall cooking herb, has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. 

What’s not to love about all that nutrition, flavor and satisfaction in one beautiful dish? Time to get cooking and try it out for yourself! 

Butternut Squash, Kale and Fettuccini with Creamy Ricotta Sage Sauce

Serves 6-8 people

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 Tbsp Avocado oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed*
4 cups baby kale or any kale of your choice*
1 box Explore Cuisine Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccini
2 Tbsp fresh sage sliced into very thin ribbons for garnish (optional)

Creamy Ricotta Sage Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese*
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage sliced into very thin ribbons
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper & salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. Roast butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400 F. If using a whole butternut squash, peel, de-seed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (Tip: Use a big, very sharp knife and watch those fingers! These squash are not the easiest things to cut. I also found this amazing serrated peeler and it worked like a charm!) Toss butternut cubes in avocado oil and spread evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and roast for 30 minutes or until tender enough that a fork can easily pierce squash. 
  2. While the squash is roasting, cook fettuccini. Brink 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, add fettuccini and simmer for 7 minutes to cook pasta to al dente. Drain pasta. 
  3. Add baby kale to hot pasta pot, pour drained, hot pasta over the kale and cover pot. This will warm and wilt the kale just enough so it’s not chewy. 
  4. As squash continues to cook, prepare creamy ricotta sage sauce. Pour avocado oil in saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add minced garlic and shallot to pan and cook until fragrant - about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add ricotta cheese, milk, sage, and nutmeg to saucepan, mix all ingredients together and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly for 5-7minutes or until sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and transfer to pot with fettuccini and kale. Pour ricotta sauce over the kale, fettuccini and squash mixture and toss to coat. 
  6. Transfer Fettuccini to serving dish or plate and serve warm. 

Chef’s Tips:  

  • To save time, you can also buy pre-peeled and cut butternut squash at many grocery stores in the fresh or frozen produce sections. 
  • To save even more time, you could simply microwave your butternut squash straight from the pre-prepared bag. 
  • If you use full, adult kale leaves, you’ll just need to wash and chop it into bite sized pieces as opposed to being able to use baby kale as-is.
  • I usedwhole milk in this recipe for added creaminess. If you use low fat or skim, you may need to add more milk to help the sauce blend well.