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 – Apple Cake

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Autumn means apples are in abundance and, whether they’re from your own tree or from the greengrocer, it’s the perfect time to make apple pie and apple cake. This recipe is by children’s cookery writer Annabel Karmel but, as my husband can’t eat wheat, I substituted the flour for a gluten free alternative. Apart from how simple it is to prepare, the beauty of this truly delicious cake is that it will stay moist for at least a week, because it is made with sunflower oil rather than butter.

Ingredients:

5 Granny Smith (or other) apples

1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

450g (15oz) granulated sugar

375g (12oz) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 tsp almond essence

2 tsp vanilla essence

250ml (8fl oz) sunflower oil

icing sugar for dusting

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  • Peel and slice the apples thinly and place in a bowl. Toss with the cinnamon, orange juice and 100g (3 1/2 oz) of the sugar.
  • Ina separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and the remaining sugar). Add the eggs one at a time, then add the almond and vanilla essences along with the oil.
  • Grease a deep ring tin or other decorative moulded cake tin, such as a Cathedral mould. Pour in a third of the batter, then half the sliced apple mixture, then a third more of the batter, followed by the rest of the apple mixture. Finish with the remaining third of the batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When mostly cool remove from the pan and cool further.
  • To serve, dust the top of the cake with sieved icing sugar.

apple cake