The first time I ever tried butternut squash was in a jar of marinara years ago. During one of my marathon trips to TJ Maxx, I stumbled upon a jar of sauce that was ‘low in points’ so I decided to give it a shot.
I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate taste and quickly made a trip to load up on jars of this newly discovered flavor.
Fast forward a few years to the day I dug into my favorite cookbook, looking for a holiday soup recipe, and came across that name again…butternut squash.
For a few years, I played around with the soup, opting for a more nutrition version of the cream laden dish of my NOLA-style favorite. I made butternut the star of enchiladas and breakfast bakes.
Until a recent reminder from my friends at Rollin’ Local.
We had the pleasure of hostessing a farm to table dinner with local blogger, Alley from Life of Alley. During a planning session, the moment Michelle suggested serving a Butternut Squash and Mushroom lasagna, my mouth watered and I knew that was the dish we had to serve. I volunteered my homemade ricotta and hand-rolled spinach lasagna to compliment the dish and off we went.
I wondered how the ladies were going to create the lasagna with the butternut as I powdered the spinach for the noodles, too busy to text so reminding myself to ask as soon as I got there.
I was greeted by Alley’s smiling face as the rich aroma called me into her beautiful kitchen. The soup was bubbling on high to reduce into a thicker stock, the salad was ready to be dressed and the lasagna was waiting on it’s pairing of farm fresh spinach pasta and creamy cheese.
As I watched this beautiful compilation come together, I finally got my answer…butternut squash marinara.
How could I have forgotten??? Butternut squash marinara!!!
That lasagna was amazing.
It probably sits among the top 10 favorite dishes I’ve tasted…even though I ate it, standing over a trash can and shoveling it into my mouth…seriously. (Don’t judge…it was a loooong day.)
While I haven’t had time to replicate the mushroom lasagna yet, I was able to create this marinara.
I combined farm fresh butternut squash with a small crop of fall tomatoes into this delicious sauce.
This is the perfect dish to create on a lazy Sunday at home. It’s low maintenance but it’s time consuming. The longer the sauce is allowed to roast and simmer, the more depth of flavor.
I’ve created a few different options in this recipe to allow you to choose based upon how much time you are able to commit. It is so versatile it can be made as vegetarian or with a minimal amount of meat.
Use this Butternut Squash Marinara in place of your current pasta sauce. It’s amazing over plain pasta.
Y’all know I’m extra…and make my pasta at home…If you, too, are over the top, I suggest a wide noodle with fresh rosemary rolled into the pasta. If you have never made fresh pasta and are intimidated, don’t be! Let me show you how…drop a line in the comments and I’ll get back to you about my fresh pasta recipe!
Let me know how you like the sauce!
Butternut Squash & Fall Tomato Marinara
This butternut squash marinara is the perfect way to use fall tomatoes. The butternut cuts the acidity, offering a sweeter, more delicate comfort dish that perfect served over fresh pasta. This dish can be made vegetarian or served with meatballs for a more hearty dish.
Butternut & Tomato Base
- 1 Butternut Squash (Small or 1/2 large) Peeled & Cubed
- 2 pounds Tomatoes
- 3 Clove Garlic
- 4 Sprigs Basil
- 2 Sprigs Rosemary
- 1 TBSP Avocado Oil
- 1 TBSP Honey
- 1 Whole Onion Diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 4 Celery Stalks Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Salt & Pepper to taste
For Depth of Flavor
- 1 Cup Bold Red Wine
- 3 TBSP Fresh Parmesan Cheese Grated
- 1 Italian Sausage Link (Optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
MISE en PLACE: Cube & Peel Butternut, Peel Garlic & get press. Prepare onions, bell pepper and celery. Pull spices, oil & honey.
Add ingredients for Butternut and Tomato base to a glass casserole dish and place in the oven. (I use a glass Pyrex bowl as pictured.) Roast for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and gently cut tomatoes open, allowing them to release their juice. Add more salt & pepper to taste and drizzle 1 tsp oil. Cook 30 more minutes.
At the 1 hour mark, stir, releasing all juice from the tomatoes.
For marinara, Add onion, red bell pepper, celery and garlic to stockpot and cook until softened. (About 10 minutes over medium heat.)
Add Butternut-Tomato base and use emulsion blender to break down into a sauce adding salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Your sauce is ready!
However, the longer the sauce simmers, the deeper the flavor. EXTRA STEP: Add 1/2 cup of wine, sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and allow to simmer for 40 minutes. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer uncovered...if you prefer a sauce more thin, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Salt to taste, then serve.
FOR DEEPEST DEPTH OF FLAVOR: Add 1/2 cup of wine and a cased sausage link, more Parmesan cheese and simmer for an hour.
Serve over fresh pasta.