Photo of Baked penne with butternut squash and ricotta by WW

Baked penne with butternut squash and ricotta

Total Time
1 hr 25 min
25 min
1 hr
This pasta casserole is a hearty yet elegant combination of whole wheat penne, rich butternut squash, toasted walnuts, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese. While you're shopping, look for a 20-oz bag of fresh, already peeled and cubed squash from your supermarket. If you can't find any, then you can cut a medium squash in half lengthwise and place cut-side down on prepared baking sheet; roast in a 375° oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Scoop squash out of skin into a large bowl, mash with a spoon, and proceed with the recipe. Alternatively, you can microwave cubed squash, covered, in a shallow microwave-safe baking dish or container with 1/4 cup of water, until cooked through; mash squash in a bowl.


Cooking spray

2 spray(s)

Raw butternut squash

20 oz, fresh, peeled and cubed

Table salt

tsp, for cooking pasta

Uncooked whole wheat pasta

12 oz, penne

Fat free skim milk

1¼ cup(s)

All-purpose flour

2 Tbsp

Jarred minced garlic

2 tsp

Table salt

½ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground, or to taste

Fresh thyme

1 Tbsp, fresh, chopped, divided

Part skim ricotta cheese

½ cup(s)

Grated Parmesan cheese

cup(s), Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

Chopped walnuts

¼ Tbsp, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Coat a 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place squash on prepared baking sheet; roast until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a large bowl and mash.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. After squash has been roasting for about 10 minutes, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
  4. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mashed squash and 2 1/2 teaspoons of thyme. Add sauce to pasta; toss to mix and coat.
  5. Transfer pasta mixture to prepared baking dish; dot with spoonfuls of ricotta and then sprinkle with Parmesan and walnuts. Bake until top is lightly browned in a few spots, about 15 to 20 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Yields about 1 cup per serving.