Recipe: Butternut Squash Pasta

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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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My Latest TV Addiction

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My husband and I often have wildly different tastes in TV programmes. I like glamour and drama, with a healthy bit of cheese thrown in (think Revenge, Gossip Girl – RIP, I still miss Chuck & Blair – and Made in Chelsea) while he prefers sport, Top Gear or worthy documentaries, which I think I should watch to boost my intellect but just find sooo boring. But now and again our tastes do overlap – we were both avid followers of Homeland (starts again on Sunday, yay!) The Bridge, Borgen and The Americans, to name but a few.

Most recently, it’s TV chef extraordinaire Jamie Oliver’s (is he ever off the telly?) latest series Save with Jamie that has caught our attention. Neither of us is usually that enamored with cookery shows but we both like the idea of roasting a big joint of meat or grilling a side of salmon for a family Sunday lunch and then eeking it out to make another two or three meals during the week. Last Sunday we had roast chicken with all the trimmings and then boiled the carcass to make chicken stock which, together with the leftover meat, was turned into a stew that lasted us two days.

Of course I realise that there is certain irony in a multi-millionaire chef showing us mere mortals how to cut down on our food spend, but if it saves us money and makes meal planning that bit easier then I’m all for it. And say what you will about the ‘Naked Chef’, he is a national institution and you do get the feeling that he does really care about the eating habits of the nation, even if he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Find the chicken stew recipe here