If you’re not finishing your pasta on a sheet pan, what are you waiting for? You get all the creaminess of stovetop pasta, *plus* a layer of crispy, crunchy, cheesy goodness. This version features a butternut squash sauce made with cottage cheese for extra protein, and it all comes together on a sheet pan — which makes for a dramatic presentation and super easy clean-up.

Grace Elkus, @graceelkus


Serves 6
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2½ pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt, divided (plus more as needed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic (not peeled)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 ounces of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup), divided

  • 1 pound of dried short pasta, such as rigatoni
  • 1 cup of whole milk cottage cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup to 1½ cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Fresh thyme leaves, for serving
Cookware Used
Holy Sheet
Nonstick Half-Sheet Pan
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Sheet Show
One Half-Sheet Pan & Two Quarter-Sheet Pans
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Stir Crazy
3-Piece Nested Mixing Bowl Set
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1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. 

2. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Transfer to a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and several grinds black pepper. Add the garlic and toss to coat in any residual oil. Flip the squash cut side down and arrange the garlic in the cavities to prevent burning. Roast until tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the Panko, ½ cup of the Parmesan, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain. 

5. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the squash and squeeze the garlic out of their peels and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cottage cheese, nutmeg, cayenne, remaining ½ cup Parmesan, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. With the motor running, slowly add the broth until the sauce is thick yet pourable (you may not need the full amount). Taste and season with salt and pepper.

6. Return the pasta to the pot, add the sauce, and toss, adding a few splashes of pasta water until the sauce evenly coats the pasta. Heat the broiler.

7. Transfer the pasta to the now-empty sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Top with the bread crumb mixture. Broil until the bread crumbs are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.