Honeynut squash is like a butternut squash’s best version of itself—sweeter and more intensely flavored. This recipe, Rigatoni with Honeynut Squash, Chard & Hazelnuts, which essentially adds vegetables to a peppery cacio e pepe–style sauce, is a simple, healthy, warm-your-bones way to enjoy it. If you can’t find honeynut, butternut or kabocha would be a fine swap-in, and the pre-cubed varieties you can find in most produce aisles are your weeknight self’s best friend. Here’s the recipe.
Rigatoni with Honeynut Squash, Chard & Hazelnuts
From The Weekday Vegetarians
Kosher salt to taste
2 small honeynut squashes (about 3 pounds total), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (6 to 7 cups)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound rigatoni or tube pasta of your choice—just don’t use noodles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard (including stems), amaranth, kale, or spinach
1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1⁄3 cup crushed or roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Combine the squash and onion on the prepared sheet pan and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper and, using your hands, toss until every piece is coated and shiny. Roast until the squash looks crispy around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, when the salted water comes to a boil, cook the rigatoni according to the package directions until it’s al dente. Reserve about 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and immediately toss it right in the strainer with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Set the pasta pot back on the stovetop over low heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute, then add the chard, salt, and black pepper, tossing until the chard has softened and wilted, about 2 minutes. Toss in the rigatoni along with the Parmesan, more salt and black pepper, and about 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water to help distribute the cheese and make the pasta saucy. (Add more pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed.) Toss in the squash-onion mixture, then serve in bowls topped with hazelnuts.
P.S. For more simple vegetarian recipes like this one, check out my New York Times bestselling book The Weekday Vegetarians. Reminder: All the fun stuff these days happens in the Dinner: A Love Story newsletter on Substack, which is consistently in the Top 10 most-read food newsletters on the entire platform. You can subscribe here.