Vegetarian Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Scallions, and Goat Cheese

(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)


  • 8 oz. brown Crimini Mushrooms (also called Baby Bellas or Baby Portobellas)
  • 1 T + 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb butternut squash, cut into pieces about 3/4 inches square (they don’t all need to be the same size and shape)
  • 1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal or salt plus freshly ground black pepper to taste, to season the squash as it cooks
  • 2 cups Penne or other similar pasta shape (I used Dreamfields Penne, which is a low-carb pasta)
  • 1/2 cup diagonal sliced scallions (green onions), green part only
  • generous amount salt for pasta cooking water, at least 1 tsp. (The pasta doesn’t absorb all that salt, but it will taste flat without it.)
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, or slightly more (You can use Feta if you’re not a fan of the more pungent goat cheese.)
    freshly-grated Parmesan for serving, optional


Cut the Butternut squash into cubes (or buy the precut if you wish)

Wash the mushrooms and cut into thick slices. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms, and saute until they’re nicely browned, about 6-8 minutes. While mushrooms cook start the pasta water boiling. adding a generous amount of salt, and measure out 2 cups of pasta. Cut the butternut squash into cubes about 3/4 inches square or slightly larger.

When the mushrooms are nicely browned, remove them to a bowl. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and when it’s hot add the butternut squash and cook, turning every few minutes, until the squash is nicely browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season squash with the Vege-Sal (or salt) and freshly ground black pepper as it cooks. (Depending on how hot your stove is, you may need to turn the heat to medium.) Add the pasta to the boiling water when you start cooking the squash. Cook pasta 10 minutes from the time it comes to a boil.

While the squash cooks, diagonally slice the scallions and measure out 2 oz. goat cheese. When the squash is browned and cooked through, add the mushrooms back into the frying pan, along with any accumulate liquid. Turn heat to low to keep it warm without cooking more.

When the pasta is cooked to al-dente (still slightly chewy), scoop out 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and then drain pasta into a colander placed in the sink.  Put drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in, stir in the goat cheese, and let it melt for about a minute.  Add some of the pasta water, as much as you need to feel like the cheese had made kind of a sauce.  When cheese is melted, gently stir the cheese-coated pasta into the squash and mushrooms. (You can add the rest of the pasta water at this point if you think you need it; I thought it was “saucy” enough without any more water.)  Gently stir in sliced scallions and serve hot, with Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

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