Pasta with Roast Butternut Squash and Spinach
This is a bit of an accidental vegetarian recipe. What I mean by that is that I didn’t set out to make a vegetarian recipe, but it sort of just happened that way. Staring into the fridge one day at a butternut squash that I had bought on impulse (ok, some women buy shoes on impulse, I buy squash – what of it?), I had to come up with a way to use it. I had been obsessing over a curry with squash for a while, maybe combine it with some frozen spinach which I always have in the freezer anyway and perhaps some chickpeas. But, I didn’t feel like a curry that day, and then it came to me, all of a sudden, it had to be pasta……
Preparation Time: 25 minutes (includes roasting the squash)
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for 4 Servings
For the Butternut Squash
2 x medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (smallish, bite sized pieces– remember though, they will shrink a bit in the oven)
2 x tsp honey
1 x tbsp olive oil
½ a freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
For the Spinach Sauce
2 x tbsp olive oil
500gr / 1.1 lb. frozen spinach (not creamed spinach), defrosted
3 x shallots chopped finely
5 or 6 sage leaves chopped finely
2 or 3 large garlic cloves chopped finely
300gr / 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
300ml / 10 fl.oz. buttermilk
75gr / 2.5 oz. toasted pine nuts
50gr / 1.5 oz. grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)
Some extra virgin oil to drizzle over (optional)
Lumache Rigate pasta
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Place the butternut squash in a roasting tray big enough that you can spread it out. Drizzle over the oil, mix it through to cover all your squash, then drizzle over the honey, grate over the nutmeg, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. The time will depend on how big you made your pieces of squash. The result you are looking for is that the squash has softened a little (not mushy though) and that it has taken on some colour.
- Whilst the squash is cooking you can get on with the pasta and the spinach sauce. Drop your pasta into boiling, salted water for as long as the packaging instructs.
- For the spinach sauce, heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, then add the shallots, garlic and sage. Cook until they have browned then add the spinach. I like to keep any water that has come from the spinach, I don’t drain it, just add it all. Stir through and add the tomatoes, mix in. Once bubbling, add the buttermilk, mix it through, then add and some salt and pepper to taste. This part of the cooking only takes a few minutes, you don’t want to overcook the spinach otherwise it will lose its vibrant green colour.
- When the squash is ready, add about 2/3 of it to the spinach in the pan and stir through, keep the rest back to dress.
- To add the pasta, I don’t drain it, as I want to get a little (just a little) of the water in which it has cooked into my sauce. To do this I decant the pasta into the pan with the spinach and butternut by using a slotted spoon. Stir your pasta through, check for seasoning.
- To serve sprinkle over the remaining squash, pine nuts, cheese and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil if you wish.
Tips and Variations
You can make the squash in advance and heat it through the spinach sauce.