Trio of Pasta Sauces: Butternut Squash, Kale Alfredo, & Tomato Garlic Marinara

After my recent homemade pasta making class and enough pasta to feed a large army, we had to dress them. Rather than sticking with the usual pasta sauces, I offered my class some unique sauces to try with the pasta they made. They were well received and I'm excited to share the recipes! From left to right, here are the Trio of Pasta Sauces served which included a butternut squash pasta sauce {over farfalle}, a kale alfredo pasta sauce {over orecchiette}, and a tomato garlic marinara {over tagliatelle}...

In deciding which pasta sauces to serve for my class, I thought something seasonal would be appropriate. We've gotten a nice taste of the cool and crisp fall lately so incorporating squash seemed fitting. Taking Martha Stewart's recipe for Butternut Squash Sauce as a base to build on, I added a red bell pepper, chopped onions, chicken broth and some Parmesan cheese to round the flavors and offer a bit of rich color too...

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a large, sharp knife, trim end of the squash and cut in half crosswise to separate bulb from neck. Peel the outer skin from both pieces with a vegetable peeler. Cut each piece in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into 2-inch chunks and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet with onions, garlic and bell pepper.

Drizzle vegetables with oil, sprinkle with sage and season generously with salt and pepper, then bake vegetables in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove vegetables from oven.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor and puree. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube and process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups chicken broth and continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Transfer to saucepan and heat over medium high heat to warm through. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

I'm a fan of alfredo sauce but to incorporate some vegetables, I found kale does really well as a spinach substitute in some dishes. For this sauce, I used frozen kale but you can use frozen spinach if you prefer. Be sure to squeeze out any moisture from the kale/spinach so that your sauce isn't too loose and runny...

Kale Alfredo Pasta Sauce

1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
salt to taste 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 3/4 cup) 
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
10oz frozen kale, thawed and squeezed dry

Bring 1 cup of the heavy cream and the butter to a simmer in a 3- to 4- quart saucepan over medium heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the mixture reduces to 2/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. 

Meanwhile, return the cream mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to low and add the pasta, Parmesan, and nutmeg to the cream mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring in the kale to combine and the cheese is melted.

Since I now had a seasonal sauce using the butternut squash and a creamy kale alfredo sauce, the last sauce is a nice and flavorful red sauce for those that like their pasta simple. The garlic in this sauce is roasted, which imparts a sweet flavor to pair well with the tomatoes and carrots. Pureeing the sauce after it comes together on the stovetop also makes it nice and smooth...

Tomato & Garlic Marinara
recipe from Food Network

5 cloves garlic
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons freshly picked oregano leaves
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel 5 cloves garlic and place them in a square of foil. Sprinkle the cloves with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Wrap up the foil and place it directly on the oven rack. (Be sure that the foil packet is secure so no oil will leak out.) Roast the garlic until it's brown and tender, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool enough to touch and squeeze the garlic from the skins. Set aside.

Saute onions and carrots with the oil in a medium saucepan. Add tomato paste and stir well. This will cook off the tomato paste and give a nice orangy color. Cook for about 10 minutes. When vegetables are softened add the roasted garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and stir together until incorporated. Pour in the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add it to the pan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Once sauce is ready carefully pour it into the food processor and puree until smooth.


  1. They all sound lovely, but I'd really like to try the Kale Alfredo!

  2. I like that these sauces are like twists on classics.

  3. These look so amazing! I love different and creative sauces!

  4. oh yum! With my new found chicken allergy, I have been eating a lot more pasta so these will get me a nice variety!

  5. looks good, I love making my own pasta sauce - it's so fresh and blows jar sauce out of the water!

  6. They all look good but I think I like the marinara the best.

  7. Mmm these all look so delicious! I know whats for dinner tonight now, yay! thanks so much for sharing! xo xo