Acorn Squash Filling for Pasta

Acorn Squash Filling for Pasta
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acron squash pasta filling
Disposable piping bags make filling pasta easy. You can buy them online and they’re a real-time saver.

Okay, we’re starting off a multi-day series for a meal. Partly because each can stand on its own, and partly because we need a few easy posts to get back into the groove of writing up our dinners. We also like adding  suspense to the mix. You won’t know until Friday how this all comes together into a meal. Sure, from the post title, you know that we’re making a filled pasta, but what about the rest?

This is based loosely on a recipe we found in Crossroads, by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones, and Serafina Magnussen, but we changed it a bit. We really wanted to accentuate the idea of fall, so we added sage to the acorn squash filling. They also used their filling to make ravioli, but we went with a new and different (to us) shape. You’ll see that tomorrow.

Acorn Squash Filling for Pasta

Acorn Squash Filling for Pasta


  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeds cleaned and reserved
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs rubbed sage
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flake
  • 1 Tbs white wine vinegar

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F Lightly oil a baking pan.

Rub the cut sides of the squash with oil and place cut side down in the baking pan.

Bake until soft and tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in sage and nutmeg,

Scrape squash flesh from skin and place in the bowl of a food processor along with onion mixture. Process until smooth. Add vinegar and process to incorporate.

Taste, add red pepper flake, salt, and pepper to taste, processing until incorporated.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8 inch tip. Refrigerate until needed.

Ingredient discussion:

Any winter squash will work here, so don’t sweat getting acorn squash and only acorn squash. When you’re scooping out the messy pulp, make sure to keep the seeds; while we don’t have it posted yet, we’ll be making something from the squash seeds for our dinner.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a baking dish big enough to hold the two halves of squash, cut side down.

Oil squash. Rub the cut side and insides of the squash with a bit of olive oil. This will help transfer heat to the squash and hold some of the moisture inside. If you wish, you can sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the squash, too. Place the halves in the baking dish, cut side down.

baked acorn squash
Acorn squash can be a bit dry, so use oil and bake cut side down to hold in moisture.

Bake squash. Place the squash in the oven and bake until soft and tender. The squash may have even collapsed a bit at this point, and the squash meat should be pulling away from the skin. Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them without getting burned.

frying onions
Sage will give your filling a nice fall flavor, and the butter doesn’t hurt, either.

Fry onions and garlic. While the squash is baking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. With all the butter, the garlic shouldn’t burn, but do watch it. When everything is tender, stir in the sage and nutmeg and remove from heat.

adding vinegar
Vinegar actually brings out flavors that you might not otherwise notice. Get in the habit of using it in many of your dishes, almost as if it were salt.

Process. Scrape the squash flesh into the bowl of a food processor and add the onion mixture. Process until smooth, then add the vinegar and process to incorporate.

seasoning acorn squash filling
The real key to finishing the filling is tasting and adjusting the seasonings.

Season. Taste the mixture and add red pepper and salt and pepper, as needed, processing to incorporate and tasting as you work. The mixture should be stiff enough that it doesn’t slump when stirred. If it does, add some bread crumbs to thicken. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8 inch tip and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill your pasta. If you don’t have a piping bag, simply transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

While we won’t show you the new pasta shape until tomorrow, you can check out some of our other filled pasta shapes by clicking here (you’ll see all our pasta shaping tutorials).

This pasta filling is great, with a slightly sweet taste, nicely accented by the sage. It does fit in very well for a fall dish, but we will say that it’s a mild filling,  so don’t overpower the flavor with a strong sauce. We’ll show you our sauce later this week, but, until then, we can say this is a five-star filling.

Worth the trouble?

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