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Winter Squash and Kale Pasta With Pecan Breadcrumbs

Winter Squash and Kale Pasta With Pecan Breadcrumbs recipe
Photo by Emma Fishman, Food Styling by Pearl Jones, Prop Styling by Sophie Strangio

This cozy winter squash and kale pasta from The Lantern Inn in Wassaic, NY, uses an entire butternut squash, a whole bunch of kale, and crunchy pecan breadcrumbs for total fall bliss in dinner form.

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What you’ll need


4 Servings


cup finely chopped pecans


cup panko


tsp. finely grated lemon zest


tsp. plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt


large butternut squash (about 3 lb.), peeled, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1" cubes


tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper


oz. spaghetti or other long pasta


garlic cloves, thinly sliced


large bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2" pieces


cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


oz. Parmesan, finely grated


cup chopped parsley


cup fresh lemon juice


Step 1

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°. Spread out pecans and panko on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast on upper rack, tossing halfway through, until nuts are slightly darkened and panko is golden, 7–9 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer pecans and panko to a small bowl and stir in lemon zest, 1 tsp. oil, and a pinch of salt. Set pecan breadcrumbs aside.

Step 2

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Divide squash between 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle oregano over, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender and browned in spots, 25–30 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Step 4

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Cook garlic, stirring, until tender but not browned, about 1 minute. Add kale and cook, stirring, until beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid, cover pot, and cook until kale is completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Uncover pot, add butter, and stir until melted. Add Parmesan and pasta and cook, tossing vigorously with tongs and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in squash, parsley, and lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Step 5

Divide pasta among shallow bowls; top with reserved pecan breadcrumbs and season generously with pepper.

How would you rate Winter Squash and Kale Pasta With Pecan Breadcrumbs?

  • It’s really good, but it is so much better with red pepper flakes.

    • Anonymous

    • New Haven, CT

    • 12/30/2021

  • Delicious vegitarian dish! Im always looking for good recipes without meat and this one is a winner. Followed recipe as is!

    • Sherry

    • Jacksonville, FL

    • 12/28/2021

  • 12/27/21 - Delicious! Lots of prep so start early!

    • Jane

    • Holden, MA (Central MA)

    • 12/28/2021

  • sooo delicious, surprised my roommate with it and we both ate so much we got sleepy. replaced squash with sweet potato and kale with baby spinach, since that's what i had, but still totally yum. the topping is perfect. flexible, tasty, somewhat involved dinner.

    • lauren

    • Chicago, IL

    • 11/30/2021

  • I would spend $25 on a serving of this at a restaurant, and would be pleased! This is a special recipe. I used a whole kabocha squash with the skin on - excellent! Used about 2/3 the butter and would do the same again. The lemon zest + pecans are a complementary duo!

    • Anonymous

    • Seattle, WA

    • 11/16/2021

  • Delicious. We used a flavored pasta which only added to the final dish. Used about half the butter and it was still plenty rich and flavorful.

    • Anonymous

    • 11/14/2021

  • You know it’s good when you’re supposed to be cleaning up but you’re eating the leftovers out of the pot. 10/10

    • Megan M

    • Chicago

    • 11/14/2021

  • Loved this recipe! I will totally make it again.

    • Erin

    • Telluride, CO

    • 11/14/2021

  • This is a winner. More work than I wanted tonight but so perfectly balanced. The pecan topping makes the dish.

    • Sunny

    • 11/12/2021

  • Delicious, seasonal, and well worth the effort. It feels elegant without being fussy, though there are a few steps involved including a bit of prep work. Save this one for a leisurely evening in the kitchen & a glass of wine. Would be perfect for a dinner party or just elevating a weeknight. Loved!

    • g_k

    • Seattle, WA

    • 11/9/2021

  • I made this recipe and adapted it a little by adding rotisserie chicken and carrots/pea frozen mix and I just used regular bread crumbs with no pecans. I love how warm and unique this dish is! The first time I made this it took kinda a lot of time and pans but I simplified it by just boiling the kale with the pasta instead of wilting it in a double boiler (I don't have time for that!) overall great inspiration & excellent pasta dish if you're bored of having tomato sauce everyday!

    • Anonymous

    • 11/8/2021

  • Delicious, the panko and pecans lift this up a notch.

    • DML

    • San Francisco, CA

    • 11/6/2021

  • Another BA recipe = another crowd pleaser! Delicious and fancy enough to serve for guests! I will redo for sure!

    • Sue Chenard

    • Ottawa, ON

    • 11/4/2021

  • Yum! It's a keeper. It does take a lot of pans and some time so I suggest that the topping be made early on ornate day before and kept in a tightly closed container to keep it crisp. It's amenable to substitutions & small cuts without favor loss i.e. almonds instead of pecans, chard instead of kale, less butter.

    • Anonymous

    • Florida

    • 11/3/2021

  • This was fantastic. I literally halved the butter and it was still so rich and delicious. Nothing to change except maybe next time I’d add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. This is a surprisingly savory pasta, the parm and kale definitely tone down the squash’s sweetness. A must try!

    • Anonymous

    • Seattle, WA

    • 10/24/2021