Curried Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe

Only recently did it occur to me that winter squash could be welcome in a dish of pasta. Before that, I’d always vaguely considered the two ingredients were too similar and might cancel each other out, the same way I wouldn’t make a potato sandwich*, for instance.

But then one day, wanting to fix myself a quick bowl of pasta for lunch and hunting down a leftover piece of butternut squash in the vegetable drawer, a light went up (in my brain, not in the fridge) and revealed an entire, unexplored avenue of pasta options.

The curry I use is a secret mix that was developed by an apothecary from Brittany in the early nineteenth century, when ships from the Far East still docked in local ports to unload their treasured spices.

This butternut squash pasta dish definitely belongs to the category of winter preparations that soothe and comfort by the softness of their texture and the sweetness of their flavor profile, so to keep it from being altogether too sweet, I keep things zesty with heat and spice.

Hence the use of curry powder: the one I use is a very flavorful, and surprisingly hot one called Kari Gosse**, a secret mix that was developed by an apothecary from Brittany in the early nineteenth century, when ships from the Far East still docked in local ports to unload their treasured spices. Naturally, you should use whichever curry powder you like, but if it doesn’t pack a chili pepper punch, I recommend you complement its action with cayenne pepper or a good dash of hot sauce at the end.

As for the pasta, I usually get spelt fusilli at the organic store, but lately (and in the picture above), I’ve been using local pasta from ICI: L’Epicerie locavore, which are manufactured in Bagnolet, just outside of Paris, with organic flour from Seine-et-Marne. I’m especially fond of their tiny pasta (which they label as risi but I believe are in fact midolline, as they’re teardrop- rather than rice-shaped) toasted in the style of fregola sarda.

Needless to say, you can change up the winter squash as preferred: butternut squash pasta, red kuri squash pasta, pumpkin pasta, Hokkaido squash pasta, delicata squash pasta, it’s all good!

* Though I know some people who are fond of sandwiches garnished with crushed potato chips and mayonnaise, but that’s another story.

** It is available from a few pharmacies and grocery stores in and around Lorient in Brittany, and online.

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Curried Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2.

Curried Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking
  • 1 small yellow onion or large shallot, finely minced
  • 400 grams (14 ounces) peeled butternut squash (or other winter squash that keeps its shape when cooked, such as red kuri squash), diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • curry powder, to taste (exact measurement will depend on the potency of your curry powder; if you're unsure, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) uncooked pasta (I've successfully used toasted risi or fusilli, but any short pasta will do)
  • hot sauce (optional, only if your curry powder isn't spicy)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • toasted squash seeds or chopped hazelnuts
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes, until softened, stirring frequently to avoid coloring. Add the squash, salt, and curry powder, and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the squash is cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  2. In the meantime, bring salted water to the boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, until al dente. Five minutes before the pasta's done, scoop out a few tablespoons of the simmering water and pour it into two pasta bowls to preheat.
  3. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, stirring to combine. Pour out the water from the bowls, and divide the pasta between them. Sprinkle with hot sauce if needed, pepper, squash seeds, and cheese, and serve immediately.

This post was first published in January 2012 and updated in January 2016.

  • Katharina

    That sounds delicious! I like the idea of adding something spicy to the squash. Do you think I could use either Chili powder or hot paprika instead of curry, though?

  • Yum.
    Been recently making some (GF) pasta casseroles with oven roasted butternut, almond milk “béchamel” (home made thick almond milk, made with 150g almonds for 1 liter of water, cooked with a little starch until thickened) and homemade gomasio (fleur de sel + roasted sesame and squash seeds) and a certain amount of freshly ground black pepper (from Kerala), I’m sure you would like that too :)
    + a little fresh salad, and dinner is ready.

  • Normally I would consider potato sandwich quite unlikely as well, however I have seen and tasted some excellent potato omelette (Spanish tortilla) sandwiches as an exeption to the rule.

    Curried pasta sounds novel too, quite unusual. On the other hand squash does require stronger flavour. The roasted pumpkin seeds are great!

  • I love the imagery that secret mix conjures up from the 18th century, sounds intriguing! I’d never have thought of pasta with curry, will have to definately try this as I’m a chilli fiend. Thanks

    • Curry with pasta is wonderful.

      Nam Ya (Thai fish curry with somen noodles) or Dungeness Curried Crab w/Bean Thread Noodles, or Curried Crab with Penne Pasta, are all amazing! And the combination of pumpkin/kabocha simply divine in curry, so combined with pasta is perfection!

  • I must try that – I do pasta with aubergine a bit like that, although usually garlicky and goats-cheesy rather than spicy. But this sounds delicious.

  • Very interesting idea! Thanks for the tip! Though here in Turkey, I’d have to sub the local pumpkin for the butternut. I’m sure it would still be tasty.

  • In Australia we are very fond of all types of pumpkin (as we call squash). I agree that it goes very well with pasta, similarly risotto and is a great marriage with bacon.

  • hmm, that would be good with the hazelnuts you mentioned. And I hope to see a potato sandie on your blog soon!

  • I think the spiciness counteracts the starch of a dish like this really well. That curry mix sounds intriguing and I wish it was available here for us to try.

  • ella

    have you tried the pumpkin/amaretti/pasta combo, as shown here ?

  • And then there is the good old British chip butty!

    I didn’t know about the Breton curry powder (I live in Brittany but not that corner). I will try this with the little ‘avoines’ pasta which I love but can’t always think of suitable matches for.

  • Anything with curry in it HAS to be good! :)

  • ault

    potato sandwich? My wife is from Yorkshire and introduced me to the concept of the “chip butty”. Not something I’d readily eat, but after a long walk on a cold wet day…

  • Red dry chilli, rosemary and sage are also nice (one of them–or maybe even all together!) in a squash sauce for pasta.
    A more unusual (but very good) pairing I’ve learned from a friend: squash and black olives.

    (btw: I’m very fond of this blog’s anti-spam measure :o)

  • Elizabeth

    I am “shocked, shocked and appalled” by the culinary snobbery of your disdain for a potato sandwich.

    In all seriousness, one true joy of New Orleans cuisine is the french-fried potato po’boy.

    The best french fry po’boys are surely terrible for your health but they’re oh, so good. Drowning in roast-beef gravy, mayonnaise and dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, and lots and lots of pickles, it’s one of the best lunches in the world.

    Naturally, this is only an occasional treat, and that makes it all the more enjoyable when you do choose to indulge.

  • Tuna fish sandwiches layered with potato chips was a childhood favorite. Don’t judge, it’s delicious!

    I love butternut squash in a pasta dish. Throw in some white beans too! Love the addition of the curry.

    • I would never judge anyone for that sort of thing. :) And you’re right, pasta e fagioli is fantastic, and the addition of winter squash might make it even better.

  • Vee

    You wouldn’t think of fixing a potato sandwich? Oh Clotilde. You’ve obviously never been to India. From “vada pav”, to straight up boiled or fried spiced potatoes on white bread, to those newfangled juice bar versions with battered, fried potatoes and paneer and mushrooms…that country hands down beats every chip butty eating region of the world as the reigning state of potato sandwiches.

  • Just to clarify my potato sandwich comment: I’m not saying no one should make them, or that they wouldn’t be tasty.

    What I am saying is that I am generally inclined to cook dishes that borrow from different families of ingredients, for variety and nutrition, and that because bread and potatoes both belong to the family of starches, I wouldn’t intuitively pair them.

    But I do enjoy the potato pizza that’s served at a great pizza place near me, and I’m certainly curious to hear about any and all potato sandwiches you’ve had a chance to try!

  • Liz Thomas

    Another vote for the good old chip butty here! Has to have a sprinkle of vingegar and a touch of salt. My husband advocates tomato ketchup by that’s heresy in my book!

    On another same/same food theme — I read recently about a “new fad” — the Toast Sandwich. You take a slice of toast and put it between two slices of buttered bread.

    Then there’s the Toasted Bread Sandwich where you place a piece of bread between two slices of buttered toast.

    I kid you not! I’m not making this up — honest! But I’m afraid I cannot remember where I read it.

    Back to the point though — I think squash and pasta is a lovely combination — as is rice, squash risotto is delicious. With chopped bacon and sage!


    • Now that sounds really wacky. :) How about a double-decker toast sandwich, with 3 slices of bread, and 2 pieces of toast in between? (That should fill a person up.)

  • Louise

    Sounds delicious- will be making this soon for myself and my veggie daughter. Here in Dublin the chip buttie is an essential late night order from the local chipper- the double dose of carbs serving the medicinal purpose of absorbing some of the alcohol(!). Served in a baguette with any number of toppings from regular ketchup, vinegar, salt etc to curry sauce or special sauce, whatever that is.

  • I was curious about the oishinbo book you’re reading, so I checked it out from my local library. What a find! It’s so entertaining and educational on the subject of Japanese food preparation I’ve learned so much, while having fun. I’m looking forward to reading the whole series. Thanks for posting your reads.
    Also, I’m planning on making this recipe with some Galeux d’Eysines pumpkin and rottelle.

    • I am very pleased to have introduced you to that book, Renee, isn’t it fantastic?

  • Sarah

    A potato sandwich isn’t something I’d eat either, but here in Belgium, or at least in Brussels and in the Walloon part, and in the north of France, ‘friteries’ serve a ‘mitraillette’: half a baguette filled with fries, a hamburger and any kind of fries sauce you like (mayonaise, ketchup, tartare, andalouse etc).

  • Adele

    Looks and sounds yummy, like deconstructed butternut squash ravioli. Lately I’ve been roasting chunks of winter squash that have been tossed with a little olive oil, brown sugar, any fresh herbs I have on hand, lots of fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. It’s a great sweet and spicy combination.

    For a long time I resisted potato pizza — reminded me of the scene in Big Night when Stanley Tucci refuses to serve pasta to someone who ordered risotto — but one bite of Sally’s potato, onion and rosemary pizza in New Haven changed that forever!

    • I’ve actually fallen in love with potato pizza after having it at a small pizza place near me that serves pizza by the slice. Theirs is a rosemary and potato pizza with really thin slices of potato. I probably wouldn’t commit to eating an entire potato pizza — I’d miss my vegetables — but a slice really hits the spot.

  • I must try this. Usually our approach with squash is to bang it inside some pansotti (half-moon ravioli), with a slightly more chunky squash sauce. It’s about the sweetest pasta dish on the planet and well worth the pain.

    (And I concur with the chip butty poster above – I’m from Yorkshire too and a chip butty with copious amounts of brown or red sauce just can’t be beat!)

  • I am going to make this soon. I’m trying to get my family on the veggie-train by cooking them veggie meals 1-2 times a week…this is definitely getting added to my life!

  • Yum!How delicious they look.Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. These sounds perfect, can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Hi! :-) Inspired by your recipe, I prepared a variation of this for dinner. Then wrote a poem about it.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  • Andy in Dubuque, Iowa

    If you think potato sandwiches sound odd, you should try the local favorite here: turkey and dressing sandwiches. It’s exactly what it sounds like (stale BREAD reconstituted as dressing, with turkey bits, on BREAD –usually a soft white bun). These are not a way to get rid of Thanksgiving leftovers. They are served for special occasions like wedding receptions.
    P.S. The curry sounds awesome.

  • Marie

    Ah, but that’s because you don’ live in this country (La Suede) where you can have buttered crisp bread with sliced cold cooked potatoes and topped with our national pride”Kalles kaviar” ( Swdish Taramasalata). Come over, I’ll get you one. :D

  • Chowdhury Shahid-uz-zaman

    Great collection of recipes. I would like to add a link to this page from my website, would you be okay with this? These recipes are great for people that are new at making pasta and want to learn more recipes, and I think these recipes could help out a lot of my visitors. Thanks in advance!

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