When the weather gets a bit cooler at the beginning of fall, I find myself always craving a comforting bowl of pasta. For me, gluten-free pasta is a must. So I’m excited to show you how I like to cook dry gluten-free pasta with the perfect bite to serve with creamy, fall-flavored butternut squash sauce.
I’ve partnered with Rouxbe to create this tasty recipe. Rouxbe is an excellent resource for learning new culinary skills, having more than 650k students around the world. With a subscription to the digital platform, you gain access to hundreds of hours of in-depth, well-run cooking classes. Whether you’re a newbie home cook or looking for detailed professional instruction, there’s a Rouxbe program for you. I especially love how Rouxbe teaches easy hacks that cooks of all levels can implement, like this gluten-free pasta trick. If you’re looking for holiday gifts or just a new way to make cooking fun and interesting, check out the Rouxbe courses for individuals and businesses.
With this recipe, not only will you make a crowd-pleasing dinner, but you’ll also learn how to master al dente gluten-free pasta and sauce with the perfect texture. There are a few tricks to achieving the ideal tender, springy bite to your penne and the silky-smooth cream sauce in this dish.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 12-ounce box gluten-free penne
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon crushed chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped swiss chard
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the butternut squash, onion, and garlic on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast for 35 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool while you continue with the recipe.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
4. Cook the penne for 8-10 minutes, or according to the package directions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water, drain the pasta and return to the pot.
5. In a blender, combine the roasted vegetables, 1 cup pasta water, heavy cream, chili flakes, and salt. Blend until smooth and fully combined. Add more pasta water if necessary.
6. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the swiss chard and cook for 1-3 minutes, until softened.
7. Pour the butternut squash cream into the saucepan. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the cooked pasta.
8. Toss everything together and transfer to a large bowl. Top with parmesan cheese and chili flakes. Add a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and sea salt to finish, if you like.
The Best Way to Cook Dry Gluten-Free Pasta
Learning how to cook the perfect plate of pasta and homemade sauce is a life skill that always comes in handy. Whether you’re cooking for one on a busy weeknight or you’re cooking to impress an important guest or two, if you know how to perfect a dish like this creamy gluten-free butternut squash pasta, you’ll always be well fed and satisfied.
The key with this recipe is to reserve some of the pasta water before draining the noodles. As the pasta cooks, it releases some of its starch and flavor into the cooking water. When you capture that enriched liquid and add it to your pasta sauce, it gives your sauce a luxurious body that easily coats every nook and cranny of your pasta.
This is an especially important hack when you’re cooking gluten-free noodles. Because the pasta lacks gluten proteins, which give regular wheat noodles their chewy texture, gluten-free noodles need an extra boost in the texture department. That’s why you’ll want to enrich your sauce with starchy pasta water that envelopes the al dente pasta in a silky smooth blanket.
This sauce has delicious seasonal flavors from mushrooms, swiss chard and squash. However, if you’d like to put your own spin on this easy gluten-free pasta recipe, here are a few simple ingredient swaps to try:
- Use a different squash like acorn, honey nut or pumpkin
- Use coconut cream instead of heavy cream for a dairy-free option
- Use a different green like kale or large-leaf spinach instead of swiss chard
- Omit the chili flakes if you don’t like spice
If you love learning cooking tips and tricks as much as I love sharing them with you, be sure to follow along on Instagram, where I’m always sharing recipes and techniques like the smart skills I’ve been learning on @Rouxbe.