Recipe Box, Butternut and Spinach Cannelloni with Brown Butter Sage

I wish this was my recipe…I would love to take all the credit…

butternut squash cannelloni with brown butter

Are you ready? Creamy butternut squash and ricotta wrapped with fresh spinach in a fresh pasta sheet and drenched with a brown butter sage sauce~uh huh!


It is so light, and different from so many pasta dishes.

fresh pasta cannelloni

This little masterpiece is the creation of Proud Italian Cook.  She does some amazing things with vegetables and she is my hands down winner for “The Goddess of Vegetable Recipes!”


True confessions time…I have never cooked with a fresh butternut squash.  I know, I am endangering my culinary reputation by admitting this…BUT!  To make up for it, I discovered a tip that you will really, really, really, love if you don’t know this already.


If you have ever tried to cut a fresh butternut squash you know that it is a freaking ridiculously hard, near death-like experience, not to mention could be quite bloody dangerous  close to impossible.  Not if you have a microwave!  With the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the squash in multiple places as you would a baked potato.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high.  Remove and test to see if it is softer.  Please pierce it so it doesn’t explode.  You have been warned!  You should be able to cut into it much more easily now.  Slice in half and remove seeds.  You are Julia Child.


Place halves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season and bake at 400 for about 1 hour or until done.  Flesh will be soft and easily pierced with a knife.


Scoop out pulp


and place in food processor with ricotta, egg, cheese, zest, seasonings and puree


Now here’s the fun part, assembly!


If you have been lucky enough to find some good fresh lasagna sheets [Whole Foods], you don’t even have to pre-cook them!


Slather them with some butternut squash mixture


Top with a layer of spinach leaves


and snuggle them into a greased casserole dish, seam side down.  Might as well sprinkle a little Parm on them~

butternut and spinach cannelloni

Make the sauce


The sauce sounds very la ti da, but isn’t.  Melt butter, add sage leaves and cook until they crisp. That’s it!


Push the sage leaves aside and drizzle the butter over filled cannelloni in the dish.  Refrigerate at this point until ready to bake if desired.

butternut squash cannelloni

After baking garnish with warm sage leaves and serve

veggie cannelloni

Here is this fabulous recipe, adapted from Proud Italian Cook


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
roasting time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6


  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 package of good quality pre-made pasta sheets
  • 1 lb. ricotta drained of liquid
  • fresh spinach leaves about 1/4 bag
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese divided
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped and smashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 10 sage leaves


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds.
  • Add squash to a parchment lined baking sheet then drizzle both halves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender and knife tip goes through easily, about 45-60 minutes.
  • Let it cool completely then scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.
  • Add ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup grated cheese, garlic, zest and squash into a food processor and pulse, just until mixed. You can also whip it all together by hand.
  • For assembly, cut pasta sheet in half, my package had 7 sheets yielding 14 cannelloni. Spread with a layer of filling, top with spinach leaves and then roll up placing them seam side down on a buttered baking dish.
  • For the sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan on medium until bubbly and golden brown, throw in all 10 sage leaves, let them sizzle and get crisp.
  • Take sauce off heat and squeeze in juice from 1/2 lemon.
  • Push sage to the side of the pan to reserve, spoon sauce on top of each shell and sprinkle each with grated parmesan or romano.
  • Loosely cover with foil and place in 400 oven until filling is cooked, around 15-30 minutes, depending on if dish has been refrigerated prior to baking.
  • Top cannelloni with warm sage leaves before serving. Serves 4-6
Keyword baked pasta casserole, brown butter sage, butternut squash, spinach cannelloni, vegetable cannelloni

6 Responses to “Recipe Box, Butternut and Spinach Cannelloni with Brown Butter Sage”
  1. lulu says:

    I LOVE cannelloni so I am very glad you shared this recipe which will go to the top of my list of things to make.

  2. OMG! This sounds so good that I was actually making yummy sounds while reading the recipe. Trying it!

  3. Mary says:

    I have to try this recipe Jenna, all those yummy flavors and the sage… I am drooling! We love BN squash, thanks for the tip on microwaving it first, I darn near cut my finger off once manhandling one and peeling it is a chore too. I like that this method you don’t have to bother with it. My grocery store sells already cubed, but if I can’t find it or they’re out, I’m prepared 🙂

  4. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life says:

    Oh my, this sounds like it would be fabulous. Thanks so much for the recipe and Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me and I hope you and your family have a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. Hugs, marty

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] her tips of cutting squash.  Trust me.  If you’re new to butternut squash-cutting, you need Jenna’s squash tips, too – before you cut a finger off by wobbly  mistake.  (Jenna, you’re a life […]

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