Tortellini, ricotta and roasted butternut squash come together in this easy and deliciously creamy fall dinner. This meal is ready in just over 30 minutes using simple vegetarian ingredients!
This tortellini recipe is simple, easy to make, and satisfying. It's made using less than 10 ingredients (plus salt & pepper) and a handful of active minutes.
Like my roasted butternut squash pasta, this recipe uses a less obvious pasta sauce (as in we aren't using any tomatoes or heavy cream). Ricotta is deliciously creamy and goes so well with roasted butternut squash without overpowering the tortellini.
- Butternut squash: Choose a whole butternut squash and dice it yourself or save time by choosing pre-cut squash. This is usually available in the produce section in the fall. Frozen butternut squash also works with a few adjustments (see tips below).
- Ricotta: I prefer whole milk ricotta for the creamiest possible result, but lighter ricotta does work. I am not aware of a dairy-free option for ricotta that can be bought at the store, but my tofu ricotta would be a delicious swap.
- Tortellini: Cheese and spinach tortellini is my vegetarian go-to, but any kind of tortellini works here.
- Spinach: This adds a pop of color and extra nutrition. Frozen spinach does work but won't look as pretty in the dish. If using frozen spinach, thaw it before stirring it into the pot.
- Lemon: Because this recipe uses minimal ingredients, lemons are a super important component. We use the juice and the zest for a bright, tangy contrast to the sweetness of the butternut squash and ricotta.
- Extras: Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil are all garnishes that are important for flavor.
🔪Roasting butternut squash
The most time-consuming part of this pasta is roasting the butternut squash. I have an entire post on how to make roasted butternut squash that you might find helpful, but let's go over a few of the highlights here.
How to prep squash
Start by peeling the butternut squash using a potato peeler. You may find it easier to peel if you slice it in half width-wise first.
Cut the squash in half lengthways. Using a regular spoon or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the seeds.
Flip the squash over so that the flat side is on the cutting board. Slice into roughly ½ inch cubes.
How to roast it
I like to toss everything together directly on the baking sheet to cut down on dishes.
To do this, add the diced butternut squash to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands or a spatula to combine.
Try to leave space between the pieces so that they roast instead of just steaming.
Roast the squash at 425F until it is golden and tender throughout. Test it for doneness by piercing it with a fork. If the fork goes in with no resistance, it's ready.
🍝 Putting it all together
The ricotta "sauce" is made by combining the tortellini, ricotta, sauteed garlic, and lemon juice together in a pot.
Then add in the final touches: roasted butternut squash, spinach, fresh Parmesan, and basil. The spinach will wilt quickly over low heat with the lid on.
💭 Can I use frozen butternut squash?
Yes, but because frozen squash is usually par-cooked it will roast more quickly.
Thaw the butternut squash before using it by letting it thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
Pat the squash dry with a paper towel/clean dish towel to remove excess moisture. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
📋 Serving and storage
- Refrigerate in a closed container for 4-5 days.
- Reheating: The ricotta will dry up in the fridge, so add a splash or two of water before reheating in the microwave.
- Serve with a light arugula salad or a sweet potato dinner roll. Enjoy!
More fall favorites
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Tortellini with Roasted Butternut Squash and Ricotta
- 1 and ½ pounds cubed butternut squash ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper adjust to taste
- 14 ounces cheese tortellini
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 medium lemon zested and juiced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Spread the butternut squash out on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange the butternut squash so that the pieces aren't overlapping each other.
- Bake at 425F for 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through. The squash will be golden and very tender when done.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Boil the tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot used to cook the tortellini, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
- Return the tortellini to the pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese, the juice from the lemon (about 3 tablespoons), and the spinach. Cover with a lid and return heat to low, warming until the ricotta is hot and spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the roasted butternut squash, parmesan, the zest from the lemon, and the fresh basil. Taste for salt and pepper and garnish with optional red peper flakes. a
- Tortellini: Package sizes for tortellini vary, so aim for 12-16 ounces. I have made this recipe using dry (shelf-stable) tortellini and fresh tortellini from the deli.
- Butternut squash: Frozen butternut squash works but should be thawed first. Because frozen squash is par-cooked, it only takes 20-25 minutes to roast.
- Storage: Refrigerate in a closed container for 4-5 days. The ricotta will dry up in the fridge, so add a splash of water before reheating in the microwave.
- For a thinner sauce, add 3 tablespoons of water along with the ricotta and lemon juice.