This butternut squash orzo with goat cheese is a perfect vegetarian pasta dinner. You can also serve it as an accompaniment to your favorite protein.
This is such a gorgeous, autumnal pasta dish. It’s loaded with warming herbs like rosemary and sage and paired with cubed butternut squash. I add just a hint of maple syrup because ’tis the season, right? Brussels sprouts add a nice amount of heartiness to this easy-as-anything vegetarian pasta recipe.
Tangy, intense goat cheese works perfectly to round out the warm flavors of this pasta. Goat cheese also adds a nice amount of creaminess.
How to make this butternut squash orzo with goat cheese:
You’ll love how easy this recipe is. It doesn’t require a lot of prep, especially if you buy pre-cut butternut squash.
What you need
- Brussels sprouts: I char the Brussels sprouts first and add them back in toward the end. You can replace this with chopped kale or spinach and add it toward the end of cooking instead.
- Aromatics: I use minced onion, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Thyme would also be a nice addition!
- Butternut squash: Any squash will work here. Try it with peeled, cubed acorn squash or with unpeeled and sliced delicata squash. You may just need to adjust the cooking time depending on how you cut the squash. You can also use peeled, cubed sweet potatoes instead.
- Sauce: I add vegetable stock, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper to the vegetables to make the sauce.
- Cheese: I use freshly grated goat cheese. You can also use grated Parmesan if you don’t have goat cheese.
- Orzo: Orzo is perfect for this, but any short pasta will be nice. You can use ditalini or even rigatoni as a bigger pasta shape.
How to make it
- Step 1: Fry up the Brussels sprouts until nice and charred. Transfer them to a bowl.
- Step 2: Cook the onion and cubed butternut squash for 7–8 minutes. Add the spices, garlic, and maple syrup.
- Step 3: Simmer the squash by adding in the vegetable broth. Cook for about 20–30 minutes or until the broth reduces by half and the squash is tender.
- Step 4: Cook up the orzo. Reserve a bit of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Step 5: Finish it up! Add the charred Brussels sprouts, orzo, and goat cheese to the butternut squash and toss together. Cook until everything is nicely coated, adding pasta water as needed.
To serve, simply spoon onto a big serving platter and grate a bit more goat cheese on top for finishing.
Butternut Squash Orzo with Goat Cheese
- Medium pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¾ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- ¾ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 3 teaspoons freshly minced sage
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1–2 tablespoons maple syrup; use more or less to taste
- 3 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 cup dry orzo
- ½ cup freshly grated goat cheese, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper
Char the Brussels sprouts:
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide pot over medium-high. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cook in an even layer for 3–5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking for 2–4 minutes to char them completely. Add a big pinch of salt and transfer the Brussels sprouts to a bowl.
Cook the squash and onion:
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Turn the heat to medium. Add the butternut squash and cook for 3–4 minutes until the edges turn golden brown. Add a pinch of salt.
- Add the onion and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Cook the aromatics:
- Add the sage, rosemary, and minced garlic. Toss to coat and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Simmer the sauce:
- Add the maple syrup, vegetable stock, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20–30 minutes or until the squash is tender and the broth reduces by half. If the liquid reduces too quickly, add a few splashes of broth or water periodically. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. If you like a sweeter sauce, add another teaspoon of maple syrup.
Cook the orzo:
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil as the sauce simmers. Cook the orzo according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water. Drain the orzo and set aside.
Finish the sauce:
- Once the squash is tender, taste the sauce and season once more. Bring it back to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, orzo, and goat cheese to the sauce. Toss to combine, adding pasta cooking water as needed until the orzo is well-coated. Continue to cook for 1 minute until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat. Taste and season once more.
- Spoon the butternut squash orzo onto a serving platter. Finish with another sprinkle of goat cheese. Enjoy!