Tortellini With Butternut Squash, Brown Butter And Sage

Tortellini With Butternut Squash, Brown Butter And Sage is a simple but savory pasta dish that you must try. The nuttiness of browned butter and the subtle flavor of fried sage leaves both complement the caramelized sweetness of oven roasted butternut squash that is tossed with cheese stuffed tortellini. It is so easy to prepare that you really don’t need a recipe but I’ll share how I like to make this delicious pasta.

Tortellini With Butternut Squash And Brown Butter Sauce
Tortellini With Butternut Squash, Brown Butter And Sage

One of the stand out flavors in this pasta dish is the sage. Sage can be pungent and even harsh when tasted fresh, so many people only use powdered sage in stuffing recipes. Italians have known that the fresh leaves change to a subtle crispy goodness when fried in butter or olive oil and use them in many of their famous food preparations.

Tortellini With Butternut Squash, Brown Butter And Sage

This recipe serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1  9 oz. package of fresh cheese tortellini
  •  1/2 of a peeled and cubed (1/2 in.) butternut squash, about 2 cups
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp. butter, according to how much sauce you like
  • about a dozen small sage leaves, cut into pieces
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated to serve along with the pasta

Butternut Squash                                                                                                                             Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Peel and dice the butternut squash. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a lined baking sheet (I use nonstick foil but you can use parchment paper) and spread out evenly. Roast, turning about half way through until the squash is tender and caramelized at the edges, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on size of cubes. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

Tortellini                                                                                                                                    Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil over high heat. Once the squash is cooked and you’re ready to make the brown butter sauce, add the pasta to the water and cook, stirring occasionally, until they rise to the surface and are tender. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water to be used later if needed.

Brown Butter Sauce                                                                                                                    In a sauté pan large enough to hold the cooked pasta, melt the butter over low heat. Once butter has melted, add the sage and continue to cook until the butter stops foaming and is golden brown and the leaves are crispy. Remove the pan from the heat to stop the cooking and place the leaves in a small bowl.

Transfer the pasta with a slotted spoon to the brown butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the roasted butternut squash and return the pan to low heat and gently turn the ingredients in the butter sauce to coat. If the pasta looks dry, add a little of the reserved cooking water. Place the pasta in individual bowls and top with the fried sage leaves. Serve the pasta with grated Pecorino Romano cheese at the table.


When butternut squash is available in your area, I believe that you would enjoy this sweet and savory pasta. If you have the time and inclination, delicate homemade pasta stuffed with either butternut squash or cheese would be a terrific choice but at this busy time of the year, I chose fresh three cheese tortellini from my local market. In the past, I have also used fresh ravioli stuffed with pumpkin which is equally good…actually there are numerous pastas and even potato gnocchi that could be substituted for the tortellini. While simple enough for a weeknight meal, it is also nice to serve to your friends over the upcoming holidays. If you want to impress your dinner guests, you can top the pasta with some pine nuts or chopped hazelnuts that have been sautéed in butter as a tasty garnish. Buon appetito!



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67 thoughts on “Tortellini With Butternut Squash, Brown Butter And Sage

  1. Brown butter is such wonderful stuff, isn’t it? So lovely with sage. Or rosemary — my favorite combo. And then serve it with tortellini, gnocchi, or ravioli? Just a terrific dish. This looks great — thanks so much.

  2. It took me a long time to try fresh sage fried in butter as a sauce for pasta and the results was delicious. I wish I had tried it years ago. Roasted sweet potato is a wonderful substitute for the butternut squash.

  3. Just the thing for busy days while preparing for the coming festive season, thanks Karen.
    I’m sure you’re enjoying your new home, especially knowing that all your winters will now be snow free. 🙂

  4. My sage plant is still doing well, it doesn’t seem to mind our mild winters. It’s cozily tucked in under the deep eves of our home. I don’t think it would mind sharing a few leaves to make this wonderful tortellini!

  5. A lovely new way to prepare a favorite combination–butternut squash and sage! Looks so comforting as well.

  6. Beautiful dish Karen. This recipe fulfills most of my desires when it comes to what I like to have for dinner this time of year. Very seasonal and classic. Well done and Happy Holidays.

  7. Oh, that squash first caught my eye, and then the rest of the dish! What’s not to love here …. roasted butternut squash (my favourite way to prepare it), browned butter and fried fresh sage. I would enjoy a dish of this right now!

  8. Make this often . . . sometimes almost think I grow my pots of sage for this dish alone 🙂 ! Hmmm: well, we do call it ‘pumpkin’ !!!

  9. This is one of my most favourite dishes in the world! And your version has my mouth watering. I do love burnt butter sauce especially when it’s flavoured with fresh sage xx

  10. Mmmmmm! This sounds just wonderful, Karen! Both sweet and savory at the same time… Sage is flourishing in our herb garden. I’ve never tried frying the sage leaves in butter. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I know we will enjoy it! ♡

  11. I’m a recent convert to butternut squash and I have to admit this sounds very tasty, Karen. 🙂 My son’s quite into cooking so I might pass it on to him. Thanks a lot!

  12. Beautiful Italian autumn dish. Coming back from Asian holidays I started to crave pasta, so your post has a perfect timing. I must remember this another use of sage which I stopped growing because I used it so rarely. Thank you for inspiration.

  13. Easily one of my favorite pasta dishes of the season. I usually do butternut squash ravioli with the sage brown butter. I like the idea of whole chunks of butternut squash though, so might have to give this a go with cheese tortellini or ravioli. I just adore the use of whole sage. It’s one of two herbs I use regularly! 🙂

  14. Yumm, brown butter.. who can resist anything with brown butter, to tell you the truth I freak out from sage as it has a very strong taste and aroma and sometimes it turns things bitter, but your recipe looks promising… Sharing this on FB.

  15. This is my 3rd favorite meal ever. I love roasted butternut squash and browned butter and sage – don’t get me started. I could live on it. You couldn’t get me to leave if you served this to me. 🙂

  16. I know that this recipe is a classic but a wonderful one. This time , i didn’t need to make the tortellini myself! I loved it so much & used home grown pumpkin in here! Lovely dinner! xxxx

  17. I would be able to eat this dish without the pasta but then that would just be crazy!!!! Sage is such a succulent herb with so many possibilities, and when combined with winter squash, it’s irresistible!

  18. This looks so good.. I love the way you have roasted the pumpkin. Its true sage can be a bit harsh used incorrectly but it does love pumpkin and butter and you have made it very happy

  19. A delicious dish, my mouth is watering. I love to combine squash or pumpkin with pasta, but I’ve never tried tortellini. I am keeping this in mind.

  20. This recipe is delicious! I was looking for an idea for tortellini, sage and butternut squash. I never thought if the brown butter. I didn’t have fresh sage so had to substitute dried. It still tasted great. This is a keeper. Thank you!

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