Braised Cauliflower & Squash Penne for Two

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 for Two

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 1 1/2 cups each

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


  1. Heat oil in a medium 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, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cheese.

Tips & Notes

  • 1. For this recipe, we like to use chicken-flavored vegetarian broth over regular vegetable broth for its hearty, rich flavor and pale yellow color. Look for “no-chicken” broth in the natural-foods section of well-stocked supermarkets.
  • 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.


Per serving: 331 calories; 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 12 g protein; 9 g fiber; 594 mg sodium; 479 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (148% daily value), Vitamin C (53% dv), Calcium (17% dv), Iron (15% dv)

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
30 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Vegetarian, other
Preparation/ Technique

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