Rigatoni Pasta with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Spinach

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

Our customers love everything that includes butternut squash, and we love to please them. So in many months of the year, you’ll see butternut squash in our produce cooler, waiting to be made into sauce, or soup, or risotto or roasted with our other organic vegetables for salads. It’s loaded with vitamin A and fiber, too.


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large cloves organic garlic, sliced
  • 1 large sweet organic onion, cut into thick ribs, separated
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into medium dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 large fresh organic basil leaves
  • 1 small bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound organic rigatoni or other pasta
  • 1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 7-ounce bag organic baby spinach
  • 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onion, butternut squash, bay leaf, nutmeg, basil, and parsley, and a little sea salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the squash is just tender and has released some of its moisture.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat.
  3. When the pot of salted water reaches a rapid boil, cook it according to package directions, but before draining, reserve 3 cups of the cooking water. Set the drained pasta and the reserved water (separately) aside while you continue to cook the sauce. When the squash is tender, add the chickpeas, spinach, and reserved pasta cooking water. Using two wooden spoons, toss to combine. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are heated through. Stir in the cooked pasta. Taste for seasonings. If desired, serve with grated cheese and additional pepper on top.