Braised Cauliflower & Squash Penne Pasta

September/October 2013

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In this braised cauliflower and squash penne pasta recipe, we cook the pasta and vegetables in broth rather than water to make this warming vegetarian pasta extra flavorful. The starch from the pasta and vegetables combines with the broth as it simmers and creates a silky sauce. And you can make the whole dish in just one pot, so cleanup is a breeze.

Braised Cauliflower & Squash Penne Pasta

Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups “no-chicken” broth (see Tips) or vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (see Tips)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, penne, cauliflower and squash. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thickened and greatly reduced, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cheese.

Tips & Notes

  • 1. In this vegetarian pasta, we like to use “no-chicken” broth (made from a vegetable base) for its rich flavor and pale golden color instead of darker vegetable broth.
  • 2. For convenience, try using butternut squash that is already peeled and cubed. Look for it near other prepared fresh vegetables in the produce department of most supermarkets.


330 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 11 g protein; 9 g fiber; 594 mg sodium; 475 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (148% daily value), Vitamin C (52% dv), Calcium (17% dv), Iron (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3 1/2

Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 fat

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Recipe Categories

Main Ingredient
Vegetarian, other
Preparation/ Technique

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
30 minutes or less
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