We LOVE pasta. And at this time of year when the wind is blowing all those gorgeously golden and red leaves off the trees it’s great to come home and steam your glasses up with a big bowl of pasta. And any food that only requires a fork to eat is a big ?? from us too.
But our problem with pasta is moderation. It’s hearty and filling and when it’s SO cold that hot radiator socks are THE ONLY way to go, nothing quite reaches those cold corners like pasta.
There’s a Roasted Veg Mac and Cheese recipe in our Free E-Book and this Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pasta Bake is along those lines. Padding out the pasta so it’s not just about carbs, cramming in extra veg that’s creamy and SO tasty and lightening up the sauce with passata that brings everything together in a delicious pile of cheesy, tomato-y goodness. Thank you Italy ?
We also can’t get enough of make ahead food. It’s all too easy when you can’t be arsed to reach for the phone with its handy apps and order takeaway. You don’t even need to go out to get your food these days. Someone will bring it right to your door. And weekends are our nemesis. With Phil out at work all week and me cooking something ALL the time there’s always food. And because we’re trying to be healthier it’s mostly healthy food. We also have an army of taste testers on standby who will very happily give their opinions on the latest batch of muffins or cookies. Because eating 12 muffins between just the 2 of us in the space of a couple of days would be a bad thing right? Nope, never done that ?
But at the weekends I don’t want to be cooking/photographing/washing up/writing blog posts all day (even though I secretly LOVE doing what I do) because they’re the only days I get to spend quality time with Phil. And even then plans go awry and at the end of another knackering day we’re reaching for the phone with its handy apps ?
So if I’m cooking during the week anyway I try and fend of the weekend takeaway munchies by making something that’s filling and tasty, is full of healthy veg and that will last a couple of meals. Because our weekend nemesis includes Friday night as well.
Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pasta Bake
Yield 4 servings
- 1/2 butternut squash - peeled and diced
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 yellow pepper - seeds and stalk removed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and crushed
- 250g tomato passata
- 375 ml vegetable stock
- 75g low fat mozzarella
- handful basil leaves - shredded
- 2 heaped tblsp ricotta cheese
- handful grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 180 Fan / 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6
- Put the diced squash and pepper onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes
- In a large saucepan add another drizzle of olive oil and gently saute the garlic for 1-2 mins, stirring. Add the passata, bring to the boil then add the cooked squash and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes
- While you're making the sauce cook the pasta in a large saucepan of plenty of boiling salted water for 10 minutes. You still want a firmness to the bite (also known as al dente) as the pasta is going to be baked as well.
- Stir the veg stock, torn pieces of mozzarella, basil leaves and ricotta into the tomato sauce
- Drain the pasta and add that too. Taste and season
- Pour into a large baking dish, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling
- If you want to make this ahead of time for another day, once you've tipped it all into your baking dish chill completely before keeping in the fridge for 4-5 days then reheat in an oven 180 Fan / 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6 for around 40 minutes until piping hot.
- You can do the same with leftovers, just chill, refrigerate, then reheat - making sure it's piping hot in the centre