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Butternut Squash Bolognese

Chef Emily Ellyn’s leaner more veggie-centric remix of classic bolognese makes for a healthier version using fall flavors and Dreamfields Penne Rigate.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook/Simmer Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings




  • 1 (13.25-ounce) box Dreamfields Penne Rigate
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped fresh butternut squash (about 1 ½ pound squash)
  • 1 ½ cup diced carrot (2 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup diced onion (1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice - (or substitute 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + ½ teaspoon ground anise)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ pounds ground lean beef (90% lean meat / 10% fat)
  • 1 ½ pounds ground lean pork (79% lean / 21% fat)
  • 2 strips (about ¼ cup) thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

For Service:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
  • 4 cups packed fresh baby kale or spinach, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, optional


In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add butternut squash, onions, carrots, celery, Chinese 5 Spice, and salt and over medium heat until vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned; about 10 minutes.

Scrape the vegetables into a blender and add low-sodium vegetable stock, white wine, water, and Thai sweet chili sauce. Carefully blend the hot mixture. Make sure the top is venting and pulse it a few times, then blend on low speed until smooth or to your desired consistency.

In the saucepan add a ½ tablespoon olive oil, bacon, ground beef and pork. Cook the meat over medium-high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned. Drain off excess fat. Add pureed vegetable mixture; simmer over medium heat for at least 35 minutes.

While Bolognese is simmering, bring a large pot with 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add Dreamfields Penne Rigate and cook according to package instructions, ensuring not to overcook the pasta. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside.

Drain Penne Rigate and add to saucepan with Bolognese; stir until evenly coated, adding some of the reserved pasta water, if needed, to thin out the sauce. To make it a balanced meal, fold in fresh baby kale or spinach and fresh sage.

Before serving, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat. Divide Penne Rigate Bolognese between bowls and top with a dollop of part-skim ricotta cheese and garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy!