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4.82 from 11 votes

Butternut Squash Baked Ziti

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Butternut Squash Baked Ziti- baked pasta with a creamy butternut squash sauce, lots of cheese, and a crunchy panko topping. Serve with garlic bread and a simple salad for the perfect fall meal.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: butternut squash, ziti
Servings: 10
Calories: 451kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces ziti, can use penne or other small pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cups packed spinach
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream can use half and half or whole milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg, optional
  • Crushed red pepper, flakes, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Place the cubed butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  • While the squash is roasting, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain well. You can drizzle with a little olive oil and toss so the pasta doesn’t stick while you make the sauce.
  • Place the roasted butternut squash, ricotta, and reserved pasta water in the blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Use the same large pot you cooked the pasta in to make the sauce. Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot, spinach, sage, and thyme. Cook until spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Pour the butternut squash mixture into the pot. Stir in the heavy cream. Add a little pinch of nutmeg, if desired, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Add the pasta to the pot and gently stir until coated. Stir in 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and the white cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly with a spatula. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Panko.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly. Turn the oven to broil and broil just for a minute or two so the cheese can brown a little. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 7768IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 314mg | Iron: 2mg