Zingy Butternut Squash and Feta Pasta

By | February 15, 2017

This recipe makes a great autumnal dish, with oodles of flavour and a nice comfort feel.  It’s vegetarian, yet uber easy to make into a vegan meal – just leave out the feta.  You can add a few toasted pine nuts if you like, just to boost the protein content back up again, but be warned, you may be tempted to add them to the whole dish, increasing the tastiness and texture, but also the cost and calorie count.  These are choices you can make for yourself.  I will not judge you!

As you have to roast the butternut squash and that takes time and effort I tend to chop up and roast a whole one.  My standard behaviour is to make up a macaroni cheese at the same time and stir the squash into that, along with a tablespoon of chopped sage leaves.  I put that in the refrigerator and bake it the following day for dinner, giving me two great comfort food meals from one bout of cooking.  Perfect if you’re both greedy and lazy busy.

I’ll give you the recipe I use for the two greedy people at my house, you can scale it up or down for your number of diners and appetite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a butternut squash (about three cups)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small red chili
  • 1tbsp handful of fresh thyme leaves (optional but delicious)
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled or cubed Greek feta (omit for vegans)
  • 200g spaghetti

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
  • Peel and chop your butternut squash whilst the oven is heating
  • Use one tablespoon of oil to coat a baking tray and spread the squash on it, put it in the hot oven for 20 minutes, but don’t go away, keep working through the steps
  • Put a big pan of water on to boil ready for the pasta
  • Zest the lemon and add the zest to a food processor, preferably a mini one
  • Juice the lemon and add that to the zest
  • De-seed the chili and add that to the lemon
  • Add the thyme to the chili if you’re using thyme
  • Add one tablespoon of oil to the thyme
  • Zap the oil and lemon mixture with your processor until it’s blended and emulsified.  It doesn’t have to look pretty, just taste zippy
  • By now your water should be boiling so add your spaghetti.  It doesn’t have to be spaghetti, it works just as well with penne or similar short shapes – use whatever is on sale
  • Check on the butternut and turn it over to brown evenly
  • Pour yourself a glass of sherry or a nice gin and tonic and wait for the pasta to cook.  Experienced cook will have saved a slice from the middle of the lemon to add to their gin
  • When the pasta is ready turn off the heat and the oven
  • Drain your pasta, return it to the hob and throw in the lemon chili sauce, stir it around fast
  • Throw in the squash, and stir that around
  • If you’re using feta add that and stir it in fast then serve immediately

I like to grind on some fresh pepper for even more zippiness, but you don’t have to.

 

 

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