Feel Good

Butternut squash and kale pasta with pecan breadcrumbs

Autumn on a plate.

Written by Beth Williams
Published 20.09.2023

Serves: 4



½ cup finely chopped pecans

½ cup panko

2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp. plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt

1 large butternut squash (about 3 lb.), peeled, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1″ cubes

2 tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. spaghetti or other long pasta

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 large bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2″ pieces

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 oz. Parmesan, finely grated

¼ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup fresh lemon juice



Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°. Spread out pecans and panko on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast on upper rack, tossing halfway through, until nuts are slightly darkened and panko is golden, 7–9 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer pecans and panko to a small bowl and stir in lemon zest, 1 tsp. oil, and a pinch of salt. Set pecan breadcrumbs aside.

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Divide squash between 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle oregano over, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender and browned in spots, 25–30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Cook garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, about 1 minute. Add kale and cook, stirring, until beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid, cover pot, and cook until kale is completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Uncover pot, add butter, and stir until melted. Add Parmesan and pasta and cook, tossing vigorously with tongs and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in squash, parsley, and lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Divide pasta among shallow bowls; top with reserved pecan breadcrumbs and season generously with pepper.


Recipe credit: Bon Appetit 

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