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A big bowl of bucatini pasta with a brown butter and sage sauce topped with caramelized butternut squash, fried sage leaves, and parmesan cheese.

Sage Butter Pasta with Caramelized Butternut Squash

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  • Author: Laura Bolton - Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Savory, Pasta
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Italian-inspired, American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A flavorful sage butter pasta, topped with maple-caramelized butternut squash, lots of Parmesan cheese, and crispy sage leaves. An easy Fall favorite that comes together quickly and is perfect for busy weeknight dinners! Vegetarian and gluten-free friendly.


  • 8 oz dry pasta (bucatini, spaghetti, linguine, etc.)
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1/2″)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (113g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 810 fresh sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • optional: 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add your pasta. Cook al dente, according to package directions, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the squash to the pan, drizzle with the maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Stir to combine, arranging the squash in a single, even layer as much as possible.
  4. Cook, without stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown and the squash softens. Stir, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until caramelized and fork-tender.
  5. Transfer the butternut squash to a plate, and tent lightly with foil to keep warm.
  6. Turn the burner down to medium, and add the butter to the skillet to melt. Once the butter begins to foam, add the sage leaves, and stir often until the foam lessens and the white milk solids begin to cook away. Watch the butter carefully – it will begin to deepen in color and little golden specs will appear at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Remove from the heat, and stir in the red pepper flakes, if using.
  8. Add the drained pasta to the skillet, and toss with the sage and brown butter sauce. Add the butternut squash and stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste.
  9. Divide the pasta between bowls and top a big dusting of Parmesan and a few crispy sage leaves. Serve warm. Enjoy!!


  • Note: By far the longest part of the prep time will be peeling and cubing the butternut squash (they can be a pain!). You can also do that in advance, or buy pre-cut squash at the market to make things easier!
  • Make it gluten-free: simply use a gluten-free pasta of your choice.