Upgrade Store-Bought Pasta Sauce With A Velvety Squash Purée

During the fall season, our collective desire to eat autumnal foods is satiated by pumpkin spice everything. Although it's typically reserved for desserts, pumpkin, along with other winter squashes, tastes amazing in savory dishes.

Winter squashes are often maple-roasted or spiced and baked, but they can be enjoyed in more subtle ways. Puréeing the vegetables and adding them to pasta sauce turns a mundane meal into something enhanced with a rich, warm flavor. When puréed, winter squashes take on a smooth texture, making the resulting dish like creamy pasta.

Store-bought pasta sauce tends to already be quite sweet, so the addition of winter squash will increase that, as well as diminish the acidity found in the tomatoes. You can play up the sweetness by going for squashes like butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, or temper it with a savory, nutty squash like spaghetti or acorn squash. Either way, the puréed squash mixed with pasta sauce will deliver decadent, buttery pasta that can be paired with slow-cooked beef and honey-balsamic Brussels sprouts.

How to make squash purée for pasta sauce

To start puréeing your squash, cut it open and scoop out the seeds. After chopping some squash and onions up, lay them out on a baking pan. With the oven preheating to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, sprinkle olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, and oregano over the vegetables, and place the pan in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

While the squash and onions are caramelizing, boil your pasta over medium to high heat. At the same time, heat olive oil in a small pot and brown minced garlic and onions inside. After about a minute or two of stirring, pour your pasta sauce inside. Then, take the squash out of the oven and purée it in the blender. Next, pour it into the pasta sauce and mix, allowing them to simmer together.

If it starts to thicken, splash some reserved pasta water inside to give it a smoother, creamier texture. Let the pasta sauce and squash purée cook for around four or five more minutes. Once it's reached your desired consistency, toss it with the pasta and serve with parsley and a sprinkling of parmesan.