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Winter Vegetable Pasta with Ricotta

Photo by Maren Ellingboe

Photo by Maren Ellingboe

Recipe and photo by Maren Ellingboe!

Adding all of your favorite winter vegetables to an easy vegetarian pasta is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, and use up any produce that might be on its last legs. This customizable dish comes together in under 40 minutes, making it a great option for a weeknight meal. Be sure to get full-fat ricotta—it’s much creamier than the low-fat versions.


  • 1 medium butternut or red kuri squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 lb pasta, such as penne, farfalle or celantanni

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for seasoning

  • ½ preserved lemon, chopped (optional)

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, stemmed and roughly chopped

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 ½ c ricotta cheese, divided

  • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spread squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until browned and very tender.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil pasta according to package directions until just under al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta water.

  3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes and preserved lemon (if using) and cook until very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to burst and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta greens, and 1 cup pasta water, adding more if pasta is dry. Cook until most of the water is absorbed and pasta is fully cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Squeeze lemon over pasta and stir in ½ cup ricotta.

  5. Divide pasta between bowls and add a hearty dollop of ricotta to each. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over, and serve with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you prefer, you can also use kabocha squash in place of the butternut—no need to peel!