Cost Plus World Market

Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta Bake Recipe

This delicious baked rigatoni dish topped with fontina and garlic bread crumbs might just be the ultimate cold weather comfort food.

By Kristan Raines |

Prep Time: 15 min.

Cook Time: ~1 hr.

Total Time: ~1 hr. 30 min.

Servings: 4-6


Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta Bake:

2 cups cubed butternut squash (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

3 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 1/3 cups milk, preferably room temperature

2 oz. fontina cheese

3/4 tbsp freshly chopped sage

12 oz. rigatoni pasta

1 1/2 cups chopped kale, center stem removed

Bread Crumb Topping:

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup panko bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp chopped sage

1 oz. grated fontina cheese


1. Heat oven to 400°F.

2. Scatter the cubed butternut squash onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss a few times to coat. Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until fork tender and lightly browned; set aside.

3. While the squash is roasting, add the butter to a 2-3 quart saucepan set over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, whisking constantly for 3 minutes until smooth and no scent of raw flour remains. While whisking, add the milk a little at a time, making sure to keep whisking until smooth and creamy. The mixture will clump up at first, but just keep whisking while slowly adding the milk—it will eventually smooth out.

4. Once all the milk has been added continue to cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it begins to gently bubble and thicken, about 8 minutes. During the last 2 minutes whisk in the 2 oz. of fontina cheese until melted. Remove from heat. Add the fresh sage and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

5. Add the rigatoni to a large pot of well-salted boiling water and cook until al dente, then drain. Add the pasta to a lightly greased 12.2″L x 8.2″W baking dish. Add the kale and butternut squash to the dish, followed by all of the bechamel sauce. Using a large spoon, carefully mix everything together until the sauce coats it all, then flatten the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining fontina cheese over the top of the pasta and set aside.

6. Add the 3 tbs of butter to a large skillet. Once melted add the breadcrumbs, garlic, and sage, and stir to combine. Season the breadcrumbs with a bit of salt and pepper, before evenly scattering over the top pasta. Place the dish in the oven and let bake until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

7. Allow the pasta to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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