Recipe: Butternut Squash Pasta

Butternut use2part b

Butternut  squash is hands down my favourite vegetable – I love it roasted, in risottos or whizzed up into a soup. My husband, on the other hand, is not as keen on the orange starchy vegetable but, thanks to the Jamie Oliver cookbook I received at Christmas, we have now found a dish we both enjoy.

The recipe for Squash Rigatoni is featured in Save with Jamie and I have only made a couple of small changes – I use rosemary instead of thyme as we both prefer it, gluten free pasta as my husband can’t eat wheat and I have sprinkled some pancetta fried in garlic oil over the pasta before serving.

Butternut cooked

Start by roasting a whole butternut squash in the oven (180 degrees/gas mark 4) for one and a half hours.

Butternut cut

Once it is cooked, split it in half, deseed and scoop out the flesh and either use right away or save for another day. The recipe only calls for half a squash so you can use the leftover flesh to make soup or another of Jamie’s recipes such as squash houmous or squash fritters.

Here’s how to make the pasta dish: 

(Serves 4, cooking time: 20 minutes)

Ingredients: 

320g dried rigatoni (or other pasta)

Olive oil

Dried chilli flakes

8 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of creme fraiche

40g blue cheese

1-2 tablespoons of boiling water

Parmesan cheese

Put a generous splash of olive oil and a pinch of dried chilli flakes into a large pan on a medium heat, then strip in the leaves from the thyme (or in our case rosemary) and squash in the garlic through a garlic crusher. Fry for one minute then add the creme fraiche, blue cheese and a splash of boiling water. Simmer gently while you cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain reserving a cupful of cooking water. Season the squash mixture, toss the pasta through it, loosening with the cooking water if needed. 

If, like my husband you don’t feel you’ve had a proper meal unless it has some meat in it, fry some pancetta cubes in a pan until just crispy and sprinkle over the pasta along with parmesan cheese before serving.

Butternut use3

Apologies that my pictures aren’t the best – I cooked this in the evening and with no natural light it is hard to make food look appetising. But take my word for it, this recipe is definitely worth trying!

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Recipe – Lasagne without the Pasta

Lasagne 2

I hardly ever eat pasta at home as my husband suffers from coeliac disease and has to avoid all wheat and gluten. The kids will often have spaghetti bolognese or other pasta dishes for their tea and occasionally my husband will make us all a carbonara with gluten free spaghetti on a weekend (although he is not mad about the taste or texture). Over time I have got used to cooking rice, potatoes or just vegetables to go with whatever meat/chicken/fish we’re having. Sometimes though, on a chilly autumn night, I long for a bowl of lasagne with a nice glass of red wine. So I was delighted to come across a recipe which uses thin courgette slices instead of the traditional pasta sheets. As well as being great for anyone with a gluten allergy, it also works for those trying to cut down on the carbs.

I make my own version of bolognese (slightly spicy with a splash of double cream) but you can use whatever recipe you like for the meat sauce.

1 onion – chopped

garlic oil or 1-2 garlic cloves and olive oil

500 g beef mince

1 can chopped tomatoes

2-3 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (or Thai red chilli paste)

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

a splash of red wine

2-3 tablespoons double cream

1-2 courgettes – finely sliced lengthways, I use a cheese slicer (bought from Ikea) to make the slices really thin

Cheese sauce: 400-500 ml creme fraiche mixed with 300 ml grated cheese

Turn the oven to 175c. Fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mince, breaking it up with a fork or spatula. Let it brown then add the other ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Alternate the courgette slices, bolognese and cheese sauce in an oven proof rectangular dish, topping it with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes and serve with vegetables or a green salad (and a glass or two of Vino Rosso for that authentic Italian taste)

Recipe: Gluten free chocolate cake

Cake2

For Clemmie’s birthday party last weekend I made a gluten free chocolate cake in lieu of a traditional birthday cake so that my husband, who suffers from coeliac disease, could have a slice too. The cake turned out really well – nice and gooey on the inside – and tasted delicious with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g margarine or butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 90 g gluten free flour
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence

1. Melt the butter or margarine over a low heat and let it cool

2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy

3. Combine the gluten free flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and carefully fold into the sugar and egg mixture

4. Add the melted butter or margarine and stir to combine

5. Grease a springform cake tin and coat it with cocoa powder before pouring in the batter

6. Bake in the oven at 150°C for 25-30 minutes.

Cake empty