This fall pasta is filled with roasted butternut squash and broccoli rabe, tossed in a creamy almond butter sauce and topped with a buttery garlic cracker crumble.
My parents are moving this week. After 25+ years in the house I (mostly) grew up in, they’ve finally come to their senses that 3,500 square feet and taxes that could technically be an entire years salary for someone making minimum wage are both just a tad bit ridiculous.
We’ve only been trying to tell them this for years.
*This post is sponsored by Crunchmaster.
It hasn’t quite hit me yet what it will be like to not have them 25 minutes away and have all the familiar feelings and memories of “home” flood in as I walk inside the house for a visit.
Of course, most of those memories trace back to food (and boy shenanigans) for me. From holiday dinners (we seemed to always host the holidays) to just the usual weeknight dinner, most of the memories of that house can be traced back to the kitchen.
Weirdly enough, broccoli rabe is one of those foods that instantly stirs up family memories (like this sweet and spicy broccoli rabe). As a kid, I was sort of disgusted by this bitter tasting, always garlicky green whose presence at any family holiday was as guaranteed as grandpa’s velour tracksuit. But, as time went on and tastebuds evolved, I learned to like it, when prepared right at least. Mushy broccoli rabe is gag worthy.
In all my broccoli rabe eating years, however, I’ve never once roasted it. Why? I truthfully have no idea. As someone who roasts vegetables, including regular broccoli just about every day of the week, this makes zero sense now that I think about it.
But when this fall pasta came to mind and I knew I wanted to roast the butternut squash, it finally dawned on me to do the same with the broccoli rabe.
The outcome was perfect, even better than my family’s go-to olive oil and garlic sauté. The stems were still al dente while the leaves and florets had that perfect roasted char to them to go along with the butternut squash.
The broccoli rabe is where this fall pasta recipe ends any and all resemblance to a family dinner though. With a creamy almond butter sauce inspired by the classic Asian peanut sauce, it’s about as far off as Kielbasa would’ve been on my Italian family’s dinner table.
One of my favorite things about peanut sauce noodles is the crunch you get from the chopped nuts that usually garnish the dish. It’s that perfect balance of creamy and crunchy and I knew I wanted to replicate that in this fall pasta.
Instead of nuts, I decided to use Crunchmaster multi-seed crackers. Made with brown rice and things like sesame seeds, quinoa seeds, flax seeds and even wheat-free tamari, they’re gluten-free, vegan and 100% whole grain. I crushed them up, sautéd them in butter and garlic and the result was the perfect crunchy and savory complement to this creamy almond butter fall pasta.
Here’s to new family dinners and new memories.
Creamy Almond Butter Fall Pasta
This fall pasta is filled with roasted butternut squash and broccoli rabe, tossed in a creamy almond butter sauce and topped with a garlic cracker crumble.
For the pasta
- 2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (cut into about 1/2 inch cubes)
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (soba noodles would also be a great substitution)
- 1 ounce Crunchmaster multi-seed crackers, crushed into a crumble consistency
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
For the almond butter sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy almond butter
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup/honey/agave (sweetener of choice)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- reserved pasta water as needed
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 15 minutes until softened and just starting to turn golden brown around edges.
- Add broccoli rabe to the baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, season with the red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper. Toss everything until combined and return baking sheet to the oven for another 10 minutes until broccoli rabe is roasted and stems have softened.
- While vegetables roast, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- While water comes to a boil, whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- While pasta cooks, add butter and garlic to a small skillet over medium heat.
- Once butter has melted, add crushed crackers to the skillet, toss to combine and cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain the pasta once cooked reserving a cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return cooked pasta to the pot it cooked in. Add the almond butter sauce to the pot and toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce out (I used a few tablespoons).
- Add the roasted butternut squash and broccoli to the pot and gently toss to combine.
- Serve the pasta immediately and top with the cracker crumble.