Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Kale

This Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Kale is the just what you need!! Roasted butternut squash is pureed with cream and parmesan creating the most decadent sauce.

Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni

It’s cozy, perfect for date nights in, and truly melt in your mouth delicious.

This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to get on the blog for way too long, so I’m super happy to be sharing it with you today. This is also one that Alessandro always requests for special occasions- he absolutely LOVES it.

Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Kale

It’s also a great dish to take to friends- either friends that just had a baby, are going through a hard time, etc. We’ve brought this to friends many times and everyone always loves it!!

Everything you’ll need to make this Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Kale

  • Butternut squash– You will need 24 oz cubed butternut squash for this recipe, which is about 7 cups. I prefer to buy mine pre-cubed at the store because it saves soo much time. If you’ve ever peeled a butternut squash, YOU KNOW. Most stores carry cubed butternut squash these days. I find mine at Trader Joe’s or Central Market.
  • Spicy Italian Sausage– this recipe calls for 1 lb spicy Italian sausage. Most stores carry bulk spicy Italian sausage, however, if you can only find it in the links, that’s no problem! Simply remove the casing before cooking and you are good to go.
  • 1 large shallot– I get a lot of questions about shallots. When a recipe calls for one shallot, does that mean the entire bulb or one clove from inside the bulb? One shallot=the entire bulb! Regardless of how many cloves are inside. So one shallot means the entire thing, my friends! Gosh I love shallots.
  • Fresh Garlic– Garlic makes everything better, so we are adding 6 cloves to this masterpiece.
  • Kale– I prefer using frozen chopped kale for this recipe because it’s easy peasy, however, feel free to use fresh kale. If you do decide to use fresh, I would use about 2 cups.
  • Rigatoni– 1 lb of pasta needed– obviously you can use any kind of pasta that you desire! I love using rigatoni because the creamy butternut squash sauce gets trapped inside the noodles making for extra juicy bites. Yum.
  • Heavy Cream– this makes the butternut squash sauce extra creamy and delicious, however, as I mentioned in the recipe notes, you can sub a non-dairy creamer if you don’t eat dairy, such as coconut milk or nut pods original.
  • Parmesan– adding grated parmesan to the butternut squash sauce seals the deal. Truly decadent.
  • Seasonings– You will need a little nutmeg, garlic powder, plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Fresh basil– the naturally sweet flavor or the butternut squash pairs perfectly with fresh basil.
Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni

There are a few different steps required to make this dish but I can promise you none of them are hard!!

This is how I would recommend preparing the dish (steps are in order):

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper, baking mats, or foil. Spread cubed butternut squash into an even layer on baking mat. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder and toss to combine. Bake for 25-35 minutes until fork inserts easily.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta per instructions on package. Make sure to reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
  3. While you are bringing the pasta water to a boil, get out a large non-stick skillet (I love this one), and begin cooking your sausage, shallots, garlic, and kale. You can set this mixture aside once it’s cooked.
  4. As soon as butternut squash has finished roasting, remove from oven and place into blender or food processor. Add cream and parmesan and blend until creamy. YUM! Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Now it’s time to combine everything together! Combine cooked pasta with Italian sausage mixture, butternut squash sauce, fresh basil, and reserved pasta water as needed. I like to serve with a little extra fresh basil but that is up to you.

I hope you absolutely love this Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Kale recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Thank you and Enjoy!! xo


Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni

Creamy Butternut Squash Rigatoni
  • Author: Lindsay Cola (Tippens)


  • 56 T olive oil
  • 24 oz cubed butternut squash (I buy my pre-cubed at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 lb spicy italian sausage (bulk, remove casing if in links)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c sautéed kale (I used frozen chopped kale. If using fresh, I would add about 2 cups)
  • 1 lb rigatoni, cooked per instructions on package (reserve 1 c pasta water before draining)
  • 1 c heavy cream *see notes for non-dairy alternatives
  • 1 c grated parmesan *see notes
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 c chopped basil, more for serving
  • Salt + Pepper 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cubed butternut squash in an even layer onto sheet pan.  Toss with 3-4 T olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder.  Roast for 25-35 minutes, tossing halfway, until soft and roasted.
  2. While squash is roasting, heat 2 T olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with the back of your spoon until fully cooked through.  Add shallots, garlic, and kale and cook another few minutes, until fragrant.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta per instructions on package.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. Remove squash from the oven and place in blender or food processor along with heavy cream and parmesan; blend until smooth.  
  5. Combine cooked pasta with butternut squash sauce, italian sausage mixture, and fresh basil; toss to combine.  Add pasta water as needed (I used about 1/2 cup) and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  6. Serve with more fresh basil and enjoy!!


*Non-dairy alternatives: I subbed coconut milk instead of cream for the butternut squash sauce and it was delicious.  I also tried (1-2 T) nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and that worked also.  Nutpods original would be a good non-dairy cream alternative as well or any unflavored, neutral flavored nut milk.  Hope that helps!!

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  • Reply
    Kit Garven
    November 10, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I lightened the calories in this by using skim evaporated milk instead of cream, turkey sausage, and whole wheat pasta. The whole wheat pasta’s nuttiness really went nicely with the roasted butternut squash. I also have a sage plant that is going crazy, so fried some sage leaves in olive oil and crumbled them on top of the plated pasta. Delicious!

    • Reply
      Lindsay Cola (Tippens)
      February 9, 2022 at 9:17 pm

      Wow!! That sounds truly incredible!! Love the fried sage addition- I definitely need to add that in next time! Also love the evaporated milk addition, sounds so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

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