Butternut Squash Tomato Sauce Recipe

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It would seem like this smoked Butternut Squash Tomato sauce would be a thing of the Fall season only. I dare to say it is not!

I think, nowadays with great ways to preserve food, we can enjoy this sauce beyond the Fall-Winter season.

butternut sauce in a bowl, sage leaves and side dish with salt

Did you know

cooking on a wood pellet smoker – smoking is not only for ribs and brisket?

You can use this method of cooking for anything your soul desires. Are you ready to experiment and move your kitchen outside? Let me show you how to make this pasta sauce recipe with roasted butternut squash and roasted tomatoes.

butternut sauce close up, spoon in the center

This butternut squash pasta sauce recipe is the perfect pairing of sweet and savory flavors infused with smoke.

Finishing the veggies at a higher temperature – roasting will further enhance the flavors.

There will be a line outside asking for a bowl of this goodness. Easy and quick to make it will be on a regular rotation on your menu.

Why you will love this butternut squash pasta sauce recipe

  • Making this dish on the smoker adds a unique flavor twist, by infusing the sauce with a rich, smoky depth.
  • Effortless: with just a handful of ingredients, this recipe is a testament to the beauty of simplicity. Less fuss, more flavor!
  • Great way to use excess squash. Make extra and store to use anytime you crave Fall flavors.
  • Versatile: serve with pasta, meatballs, drizzled over roasted veggies, or as a dip for crusty bread. This sauce is a culinary chameleon, adapting to any dish with grace.
  • Ready Minutes: Impress your guests without breaking a sweat and cooking for hours
  • Great for meal prep or longer storage option

Ingredients, Variations and Substitutions 

ingredients to make butternut-tomato sauce

Butternut Squash – becomes creamy when roasted, it brings a sweet, nutty undertone. Acorn or kabocha squash can be great substitutes for butternut squash.

Chicken Broth – base for the sauce. Provides a delicate meaty note without overpowering the flavors. You can use vegetable broth for a vegetarian twist or add a homemade broth for a personalized touch. If you are planning on using this sauce with pasta, you can save 1 cup of pasta water and use instead of broth.

Tomatoes – Bursting with acidity and sweetness, tomatoes add brightness and a juicy texture. Choose ones that are ripe but firm. Here are few types of tomatoes best for making a sauce:

  • Roma – These are meaty and have low moisture, making them perfect for sauces. They are also less seedy.
  • San Marzano – Known for their sweet and less acidic profile, San Marzanos are a favorite for Italian sauces.
  • Heirloom – If you’re in the mood for a colorful twist, heirlooms bring a variety of flavors and vibrant hues.
  • Cherry – If you want a slightly sweeter and more playful note, cherry tomatoes can be a delightful addition

Yellow onion – provides a mellow sweetness and savory notes for this sauce. Experiment with red onions or shallots. Both are suitable and may bring a slightly different flavor profile.

Olive Oil – enhances richness of the sauce. Experiment with infused oils like garlic or rosemary for an extra layer of flavor.

Heavy Whipping Cream – don’t skip! it adds that smoothness and creaminess to the sauce. You can adjust the amount based on your preference. More cream, smoother and thicker the sauce will be. You can use it in a combination with half and half.

Seasoning: salt, pepper, and fresh thyme, sage, rosemary; they add earthy and warm flavor notes to this sauce. You can also use dried herbs. Remember the conversion: 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs roughly equals to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

Dried Oregano – Adding a Mediterranean flair, oregano contributes a savory, slightly peppery note. Marjoram is a milder substitute or use a mix of Italian herbs for a diverse flavor profile.

White Vinegar: adding splash of white vinegar at the end is the unexpected finishing touch for this sauce; try Balsamic or red wine vinegar can bring depth, apple cider vinegar also a great choice to balance off the sweetness of the butternut and tomatoes.

close up of butternut sauce

Equipment you will need 

  • Pellet Smoker, grill you can make it in the oven as well
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • High speed blender, food processor or immersion blender
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • medium size sauce pan
  • Cutting board  
  • Chef’s knife
  • Vegetable peeler

Tips for success

  • Start by smoking the butternut squash, onions, and tomatoes at low temperature 180F and high smoke setting for 20 minutes; this will infuse wonderful smokiness into the veggies, creating irresistible depth of flavor
  • Don’t skip the roasting at 400F, why?
    • Caramelization – natural sugars in the veggies will turn brown and delicious, adding complexity to their flavor.
    • Texture Transformation – moisture evaporates, creating tender interior texture, satisfying contrast between the crispy exterior.
    • Intensified flavor – heat intensifies the flavor of veggies
  • Use variety of tomatoes to enhance the flavor
  • Use parchment paper on the baking sheet for easy cleanup
  • Don’t forget to garnish your sauce with fresh basil and/or parmesan cheese

Step by step instructions to make butternut squash pasta sauce

  1. Prepare the butternut squash, tomatoes, and onions: peel, and chop or cut in quarters.
  2. Arrange the veggies in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, add springs of fresh herbs.
  4. Smoke at 180F for 20 minutes. I recommend using Fruitwood Pellets, like: Apple or Cherry. Pecan or Maple are also a great choice. They will complement the natural sweetness of the butternut.
  5. Increase the temperature to 400F and roast for 45-50 minutes.
  6. After 40 min check if the vegetable, especially the squash are tender soft; if yes, remove from the smoker and set aside to cool.
  7. To make the sauce: add roasted butternut squash and veggies and broth and spices into high speed blender (or use immersion blender); blend until smooth.
  8. Transfer the sauce to a medium size pan, add spices and dried herbs; heat up on medium – low heat for few minutes. Finish by adding heavy whipping cream and a splash of vinegar.
  9. Garnish the butternut squash pasta sauce with fresh herbs and serve over cooked pasta.

Oven instructions

  1. Follow steps 1-2 and 3 from the smoker instructions
  2. Preheat your oven to 400F
  3. Place baking sheet with the veggies in the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes. The butternut should be fork tender and the other veggies caramelized.
  4. Allow the roasted vegetables to cool slightly. Transfer them to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding chicken broth gradually to achieve your desired consistency.
  5. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Transfer the sauce to a medium size pan, add spices and dried herbs. Heat up on medium – low heat for few minutes. Finish by adding heavy whipping cream and a splash of vinegar.
  7. Garnish the butternut squash pasta sauce with fresh herbs and serve over cooked pasta.
sauce close up on a wooden spoon, black background

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Storage and reheating instructions

  • Refrigeration:
    • once the sauce has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container . Refrigerate promptly to prevent bacterial growth.
    • Use within 3-4 days for optimal freshness.
  • Freezing:
    • Portion the sauce into freezer-safe containers.
    • use within 2-3 months for the best quality and taste.  
  • Thawing Frozen Sauce: Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Thawing gradually helps retain the sauce’s creamy texture and flavor.  
  • Reheating:
    • Stovetop: Place the in a saucepan and reheat over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even warming. You may need to adjust the consistency, by adding splash of broth or cream. Make sure to taste for seasoning. The flavors may have faded during storage.
    • Microwave: always use microwave -safe container; reheat in short intervals, stirring in between to distribute the heat

Best ways to enjoy this Butternut Sauce

  • Dipping sauce for meatballs or roasted veggies
  • Serve with zucchini noodles or regular cooked pasta – don’t forget to top with freshly grated parmesan cheese!
  • Pizza, yes, use it as alternative to red pizza sauce
  • Make veggie lasagna with this sauce
  • Enjoy it for breakfast over scramble eggs
  • And the best one yet, thin it out with more broth and enjoy as a soup

butternut sauce in a bowl, sage leaves and side dish with salt

Butternut Squash Tomato Sauce Recipe

You may thing, Butternut Squash Tomato sauce is a thing of the Fall season only. I dare to say it is not! If you loving the flavors of roasted and smoked veggies this is the recipe you must try.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 165 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 wood pellet smoker
  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 vegetable peeler
  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 medium size sauce pan
  • 1 high speed blender or immersion blender
  • 1 parchment paper

Ingredients
  

  • 1 butternut squash sub: acorn, kabocha squash
  • 3-4 tomatoes use: Roma, San Marzano, heirloom, cherry
  • 1 medium onion sub: red onion or shallots
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • few springs of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary use dry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil sub: avocado or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth sub: beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano sub: marjoram or Italian herb blend
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream sub: half and half
  • ½ tsp vinegar sub: acv, balsamic or red wine vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the smoker to 180F
  • Peel and dice your squash; cut the tomatoes and onion into halves or quarters.
  • Place the squash, tomatoes and onion on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure you only have one layer. Add springs of herbs.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and herbs. Toss it gently to ensure even coating.
  • Smoke in @180F for 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes increase the temperature to 400F and roast for 40-50 minutes.
  • After 40 min check if the vegetable, especially the squash are fork tender; if yes, remove from the smoker and set aside to cool.
  • To make the sauce: add roasted tomatoes, squash, broth and spices into high speed blender; blend until smooth.
  • Add the sauce to a medium size pan and heat up on medium – low heat for few minutes. Finish by adding heavy whipping cream and a splash of vinegar.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and serve over pasta.

Notes

Use variety of tomatoes to create complex flavor.
Arrange the veggies in a single layer on the baking sheet. We are roasting, not steaming.
Don’t skip the low and slow initial smoke. It infuses great flavor into the sauce. 
If you made a large amount of sauce, you may need to blend in batches to get the desired texture. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 165kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 87mgPotassium: 639mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 14098IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 1mg
Keyword butternut squash, fall, roasted, sauce, smoked, tomato
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Did you make this recipe?

finished butternut sauce in a sauce pan

Conclusion

So, do you agree now that smoked butternut squash pasta sauce recipe should not be only made during Fall season. This delicious and versatile sauce needs to be served more often. Make a large batch of this butternut squash sauce and freeze it so you can enjoy it whenever the craving strikes you.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce FAQs

Can I use frozen butternut squash cubes for the sauce?

Absolutely! Thaw the frozen cubed butternut squash before using in the recipe. It may have a slightly different texture, but the flavor remains delightful.

Can I make the sauce ahead of time and store it?

Yes! Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months for optimal freshness. Click HERE for more storage instructions.

How do I adjust the consistency of the sauce?

If the sauce thickens, add a splash of broth, cream, or water during reheating until you achieve the desired consistency.

Can I use a different type of vinegar for the splash?

Certainly! Experiment with balsamic, red wine, or apple cider vinegar to add different dimensions of acidity to the sauce.

What can I substitute for dried thyme, sage, and rosemary?

Fresh herbs are a great substitute; adjust quantities to taste. Alternatively, use a mix of Italian herbs for a diverse flavor profile. Click HERE for more delicious options.

Can I make this sauce without a smoker?

Absolutely! Skip the smoking step and proceed with roasting in the oven. You’ll still achieve a delicious result with a different flavor profile. You can also season the sauce with smoked salt or liquid smoke. Click HERE for oven instructions.

Can I use this sauce for pizza?

Yes! Spread the sauce on pizza dough and add your favorite toppings for a unique twist. It’s a flavorful alternative to traditional pizza sauce. Click HERE for great ideas on how to use this sauce.

Why roasting the veggies is so important?

Great questions! Quick answer is – it enhances the flavor, just like searing the meat. Click HERE for more info about roasting!

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