Pasta with Roasted Squash and Kale


It’s Friday! And yesterday, I spent eight hours alone with my kids driving home from a visit with my parents in Wisconsin, so it’s safe to say that I’m definitely still recovering from that.
(It actually went really well thanks to a little help from Goldfish Crackers, Elmo’s World, The Moth Podcast, and Starbucks drive-thrus.)

So I figured today I’d keep it brief, tell you about an epic parenting fail I had earlier this week, and then dive, mouth-first, into this pasta.

Here’s how it went down. This past week, when we were at my parents’ house, we had such a great time, but bedtime for Owen was a little challenging. He was so riled up; he had done so much playing throughout the day, so it took some work to get him calmed down each night.

On Monday night, he was in rare form. First, he was screaming I need a DIAPER CHANGE! over the monitor. Turns out he was right. Then it was a little bit more milk. Then how ’bout some water? And then he started in on his jammies. As I went in there to calm him down, he was tugging at his sleeve, saying, “My jammies. My new jammies. I don’t like them!”

Pasta with Roasted Squash and Kale

Clearly, I was way past sympathy. We talked firmly about how these were new jammies, and I told him over and over again to look, just look at all those amazing mixers and dump trucks on them.

Five mintues later, he was yelling about the jammies again, and I sighed my way up all sixteen steps going up to his room. Again, I assured him that these jammies were new and fun, but I did run a finger around each sleeve cuff to make sure I hadn’t left on a plastic store tagging barb.

I walked out again, down the stairs, and sat down with a huff, only to hear him start wailing again over the monitor. I was done. I marched in, ripped off his jammies, replaced them with familiar ones, and told him I was done coming in for the night.

And that was it. He slept.

IMG_2258 Two nights later, I pulled out the same jammies in the light of day and showed them to Owen. We talked extensively about how wonderful they were, and I asked him before bed if he was ready to give them another try. He agreed.

At bedtime, I tucked him in, went downstairs, and sat down only to hear my son panicking MY JAAAAAMMMMMMMIIIIIIES! over the monitor. When I got to his room, my eye rolls already in full swing, I walked in, ready to let him have it, and that’s when I saw it:

Those very cool dumptrucks and mixers were glowing. in. the. dark.
And he was legitimately freaking out.

I had bought them used so didn’t know they were glow-in-the-dark jammies. I somehow hadn’t seen them glowing two nights prior (maybe they hadn’t been exposed to enough light?). And Owen obviously didn’t have the words to describe what he was seeing because he had never seen anything glow in the dark in his young life.

I tried to convince him that glow-in-the-dark jammies were pretty cool while he tried to convince me that they were terrifying. So we changed the jammies, and he slept in peace the rest of the night while I went downstairs and had a good laugh with my parents about it.

Hashtag parenting fail.

Okay. This pasta. I first came across this dish when my friend Becca from church brought it over after Elsa was born. We ate it for dinner that night, and then I proceeded to heat up little bowls of it all the next day until it was gone. I loved it and immediately asked her for the recipe and mentally noted that I wanted to share it with you the next fall because it is full of fall goodness with roasted squash and kale.

This recipe can be made with pasta (Eric’s preference) or gnocchi (my preference) – it really comes down to texture. I chose to par-roast the squash rather than peel a raw butternut squash, because I always almost sever a finger when I try to do that – plus roasting develops a little bit more squash flavor than just sauteeing like the original recipe has you do. Each bite of this little pasta bake brings so much flavor. It’s melty-cheese warm is great for these fall days that are beginning to feel just a little bit more like winter (hello, high of 40*F today).

Got any recent parenting fails for me?

Pasta with Roasted Squash and Kale


squash kale bake

squash kale bake

(recipe adapted from The Food Network )

(serves 4)

I adapted the original recipe by par-roasting the squash. This helps create a deeper squash flavor and makes it much, much easier to peel the squash. Additionally, I added onion, rosemary, and garlic salt. I have made this with the gnocchi and the pasta, with and without sausage, and I truly loved all versions, which is why I've given those options here.


1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

4 tablespoons butter, divided

salt and pepper

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste

1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)

one 17 .5-ounce package potato gnocchi OR 10 oz. dried pasta (shells, penne, rotini)

(optional) 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage, cooked

1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese


Par-Roast the Squash:

Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Brush all sides of squash with 2 tablespoons melted butter and lay on baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 mins until mostly tender - remove from oven when it can be pierced with a fork with some effort. Allow to cool slightly. Remove skin and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.

Cook Noodles & Sausage if Using:

If NOT using gnocchi, boil noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. If using the Italian sausage, cook this in a skillet at this point, drain of excess grease, and set aside.

Assemble the Dish:

Increase oven heat to 450* and place rack on top or second to top shelf.

If you have it, use an oven-safe skillet for the following.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the par-cooked and cubed squash, onion, garlic, rosemary, garlic salt, sage, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook until the onions and garlic are just soft, about 3-4 minutes

Add the chicken broth to the pan. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes.

If using the gnocchi, add it at this point, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. (If using noodles and/or sausage, add cooked noodles and sausage at this point.

Stir in with 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. If necessary, transfer to a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup parmesan. Place on top rack of oven and bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.




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4 thoughts on “Pasta with Roasted Squash and Kale

  1. The squash – kale combo is the best! That is funny about the jammies. Kids always hate the best things. Oh, I have lots of parenting fails for you. The worst was probably the time I heard Cas coughing in the night, thought maybe I should check on him but didn’t because he stopped. I found out in the morning that he had slept the whole night surrounded by his own puke. I felt terrible! I would also feel terrible about having a puke comment on a food blog, but you’ve talked about it plenty on here that I feel fine! ;)

    • “but you’ve talked about it plenty on here” – lol!
      So, when we were first sleep training Owen, I let him “cry it out” for 10 mins…and when I went in, he was definitely laying in his own puke. Been. There.

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