The Perfect Fall Pasta with Delicata Squash, Pancetta, and Goat Cheese

Crispy pancetta, roasted delicata squash, and creamy goat cheese tossed with caramelized onions and wilted kale. This simple pasta is packed with savory, autumn flavor.

A bowl of pasta with roasted squash and kale.

Squash season is here! There are so many beautiful squash varieties filling the markets right now. One of my all-time favorites is delicata. It’s so simple to cut up and unlike other varieties, you don’t need to peel it.

The squash, pancetta and sage roast together on a baking tray. As everything bakes, the slow-rendering fat from the pancetta melts into the squash infusing it with salty pork flavor. The sage becomes herbaceous and shatteringly crisp. The flavors and smells are pretty fantastic!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • It has less than 10 ingredients! Delicata Squash, pancetta, goat cheese plus a few pantry staples.
  • It’s super easy to make. Most of the work is done in your oven. After that, it’s just a matter of caramelizing onions and boiling pasta.
  • It’s easily adaptable. Make this recipe gluten-free by substituting brown rice pasta. Use any type of winter squash you like; butternut, acorn, kabocha etc. Swap kale for chard or spinach. The possibilities are endless. Check out more ingredient swaps and substitutions in the recipe card.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s everything you need to make this recipe: delicata squash, any short-cut pasta, pancetta, butter, olive oil, sage (or rosemary), onion and goat cheese.

  • Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly very similar to bacon. If your grocery store doesn’t carry pancetta substitute bacon instead.
  • Delicata Squash is one of my favorites! If you would like to substitute a different squash you could use butternut, acorn, kabocha, or even diced sweet potato.
  • Sage rosemary or thyme all work well in this recipe.
Recipe ingredients individually portioned into bowls.

Recipe Step by Step

Step 1. Roast the squash

Remember when I mentioned earlier that the oven does most of the work for you? This is what I meant! Arrange the squash, pancetta and sage leaves on a baking tray and bake until the pancetta is crisp and the squash is golden brown and tender.

Left: A sheet pan with squash and pancetta. Right: a sheet pan with roasted squash and pancetta.

Step 2. Caramelize the Onions and Cook the Pasta

While the squash is roasting caramelize the onions in a large skillet. If you need a refresher on caramelizing onions – see here. At the same time get the pasta boiling. Add the freshly cooked pasta, chopped kale and a splash of pasta water to the skillet. Toss to combine.

Left: a saute pan with pasta, kale and caramelized onions. Right: Pasta with roasted squash, pancetta and goat cheese in a saute pan.

Step 3. Toss Everything Together and Serve

Add the roasted squash, sage leaves and pancetta to the skillet. Toss to combine. Crumble in the goat cheese – taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls and serve!

Can I…?

  • Eat the skin of delicata squash? Yes! That is one of the reasons I love it so much. Delicata squash skin roasts beautifully and is absolutely delicious
  • Use bacon instead of pancetta? Pancetta is and Italian cured pork belly very similar to bacon. If your grocery store doesn’t carry pancetta substitute bacon instead
  • Substitute a different type of squash? Yes, if you would like to substitute a different type of winter squash you could use butternut, acorn, kabocha, or even diced sweet potato.
A close up image of rigatoni pasta.

Check out More Delicious Fall and Winter Recipes

I love to hear from readers and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give it a rating! Don’t forget to follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest updates!

A bowl of pasta with roasted squash and kale.

The Perfect Fall Pasta

Crispy pancetta, roasted delicata squash, and creamy goat cheese tossed with caramelized onions and wilted kale. This simple pasta is packed with savory, autumn flavor.
4.92 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 830kcal


  • 2 medium delicata squash halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz sliced pancetta or bacon
  • 8-10 large sage leaves or three sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lb short cut pasta any shape
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat. Arrange the squash on the prepared tray in a single layer. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil then scatter the sliced pancetta and sage leaves on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through, until the squash is tender and caramelized and the pancetta is crispy.
  • While the squash is roasting melt the butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat then add in the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and starting to turn translucent, about 5 minutes, season with a good pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onions, stirring every few minutes to prevent them from sticking. Continue stirring and cooking the onions until they are golden brown and caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  • Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to the caramelized onions followed by the chopped kale, roasted squash, pancetta and sage. Toss to combine. Just before serving, fold in the goat cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls, serve immediately.


Recipe Notes and Substitutions:
  • Delicata Squash: Any winter squash can be substituted for delicata; butternut, acorn, kabocha etc.
  • Pancetta: Bacon will work just as well. 
  • Goat Cheese: Crumbled feta, grated parmesan or even dollops of fresh ricotta would be lovely!
  • Kale: any hearty green will do; swiss chard, spinach or arugula. 
Storing Leftovers:
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot, on the stove over medium-low heat.


Calories: 830kcal | Carbohydrates: 110g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 1301mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6813IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was great and so easy for a busy night! I didn’t have goat cheese so I added parmesan instead. I also sautéed the kale with the onions and added a little stock and the end to make it richer. Thanks for the great weekday dinner idea!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so delicious! The sweetness of the squash, the saltiness of the pancetta, and the creamy, tangy goat cheese all combine together so well. I made it last fall and returned back to the recipe to try again. Two thumbs up!

  3. I made this tonight and it was FAULOUS! I made the recipe exactly as written and would not change a thing. Thank you for this recipe, it will definitely be included in my Fall menu rotation.

  4. 4 stars
    This was fun to make and relatively easy. I wanted to make it because I could make with ingredients we already had.
    I made it for 2, so reduced amounts.
    My wife thought it needed more cheese to make it creamier, but I knew she would say that, and had already put in extra.
    I used 1 1/2 sprigs of rosemary, and cut them in smaller pieces. The recipe didn’t say what to do after cooking, so I just mixed them with everything else. I probably eat too fast, and may have swallowed a sprig of rosemary. No problem.
    2 oz of pancetta might be too little. I would kick up flavor next time.

  5. 5 stars
    This was indeed The Perfect Fall Pasta! The whole family loved it ( including the one who said “I don’t like winter squash). First time cooking delicata squash. Consider me a new fan. This recipe was simple and full of flavor. No side dishes required…a meal in a bowl. Plenty of room to experiment if you have time and interest. Cannot wait to make it again and try more of your recipes!