I have ketofied an old family favorite – pasta with butternut squash sauce! This recipe for Palmini pasta with butternut squash sauce combines a healthy heart of palm pasta with a creamy homemade goat cheese-based sauce.
This rich, hearty meal has been a fall and winter staple in our family since my aunt Connie pulled it out of a magazine. If you adhere to the keto diet, there are several options for noodle replacements. The simplest do-it-yourself noodles are made from spiralizing vegetables, such as zucchini- or cabbage-based noodles. (For an example of cabbage noodles in action, meander over to my chicken noodle soup with cabbage noodles recipe. Denser vegetables like spaghetti squash can be roasted and then shredded with a fork into noodles. Finally, some dedicated people make noodles from alternate keto-friendly flours and/or gluten.
Making Pasta with butternut squash sauce
There are other commercially-prepared noodles available. Make sure to always check the actual carb count of various noodles. Some varieties which sound like they would be are not. For instance, pasta made from chickpeas or vegetables usually has over 20 g net carbs per servings. But there are other options, such as pasta made from hearts of palm. This recipe marked my first foray into hearts of palm linguine – palmini pasta. It’s extremely easy to prepare, has a good texture, and very little taste. But overall, I prefer cabbage noodles, even with their higher net carbs per serving than the hearts of palm linguine.
- Kitchen Essentials: This recipe uses items that are all standard kitchen staples like a knife, cutting board and baking pan.
- Vegetable Peeler: If I had to give one piece of equipment a special shout out, it would be the vegetable peeler. I previously painstakingly peeled the butternut squash with a knife. A good vegetable peeler makes it so much easier! I like using a wide peeler like this one for a relatively cumbersome vegetable like butternut squash.
One of the things I love about this recipe is how simple it is. The sauce is butternut squash with goat cheese and standard seasonings of salt and pepper. Then you add your keto pasta of choice. That’s all there is to it.
- Butternut squash: find a mostly beige squash without marked blemishes that feels heavy for its size. Avoid squash with a shiny surface, brown patches, or aberrant cuts.
- Goat cheese: I buy a standard 8 oz log of unflavored goat cheese.
- Keto pasta substitute: I used hearts of palm linguine, also known as palmini. I use 16 oz total pasta. This is two bags of palmini, since each bag has 8 oz palmini pasta and 4 oz brine for packaging.
- Peel, cube, season, and roast butternut squash. It adds a lot of effort, but cubing the butternut squash prior to roasting insures an even roast of the squash. Without cubing, the outside is roasted before the inside is, which leads to poor consistency when you make the squash into sauce.
- Mash roasted squash with goat cheese until the goat cheese is melted, forming a sauce. If you wish to have a truly smooth sauce, you can use an immersion blender. For a thinner sauce, add a small amount of water or almond milk. I love the sauce with about 2 tablespoons of added water, and I leave it with lumpy squash pieces.
- Prepare the heart of palm linguine by following package instructions. I placed my palmini in a colander and rinsed for two minutes.
- Combine butternut squash sauce and palmini pasta, stirring gently. Add desired toppings and serve.
- Try an alternate winter squash, such as acorn squash or pumpkin.
- Add seasonings: basil and sage go especially well with winter squash.
- Or add some autumnal spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.
- Add chopped roasted nuts, such as walnuts or pecans.
Of these, my favorite variation uses butternut squash with goat cheese with loads of fresh basil, topped with roasted walnuts or pecans.
- This rich, hearty entrée would go best with simple sides such as steamed broccoli or a Caesar salad.
- If you haven’t had much protein during the day, make sure to eat it with chicken thighs or steak.
This dish easily stores in the refrigerator for one week. Be warned: after two days in my refrigerator, the palmini had a stronger smell. But it still tasted the same to me.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find a ripe squash with dull beige skin (not shiny) without overt blemishes. It is best if the squash feels heavy for its size.
The most common harvesting months for butternut squash harvest are October-November. After harvesting, the squash keeps well for up to three months during normal storage conditions (room temperature in a dry place).
A heart of palm is the inner core from a palm tree. It is then cut into the shape of pasta and packaged in water or brine.
Palmini Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce
- Vegetable Peeler
- Cutting Board
- Baking Pan
- Mixing Bowls
- Immersion blender (optional)
- 1 Butternut Squash about 1300 g
- 8 oz Goat Cheese log
- 16 oz palmini Linguine Pasta
- Roasted chopped walnuts
- Fresh chopped basil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the butternut squash. Peel the skin off the butternut squash. Cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into approximately 1” pieces. Distribute in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together with your hands to evenly distribute the olive oil. Roast at 350 F for about 45 minutes.
- Make the butternut squash into a sauce. Mash roasted butternut squash with goat cheese until the goat cheese is melted, forming a sauce. If you wish to remove all lumps, use an immersion blender. Season as you wish with additional spices or herbs at this point, such as fresh basil or sage.
- Prepare the Palmini linguine by following package instructions, making sure to rinse generously to remove any remaining taste of brine.
- Combine butternut squash sauce and palm linguini, stirring gently. Add desired toppings such as chopped roasted walnuts and serve.
Add about 2 tablespoons of water or unsweetened almond milk to make the sauce creamier.