Winter Squash, Spinach and Broken Pasta Bake

I saw this Yotam Ottolenghi recipe in the Guardian a while ago and was intrigued. You basically thinly slice or cube winter squash, add a few other ingredients, mix it and and bake. There is no roasting the squash first, no boiling the pasta. The one hitch in that recipe is it calls for fresh lasagna noodles. Thus the reason I hadn’t made it. I rarely make pasta from scratch.

Then one of my favorite bloggers made a few user friendly changes to the original recipe. She used broken dried pasta, not fresh and different ratios of cheese and omitted the tomatoes. So I made it.

I combined what I liked of the two recipes, as always using what I have. The result is a really easy dish that is more vegetable than pasta and is worthy of being on a holiday table.

I used 1/2 this butternut squash and peeled and sliced it thin on a mandolin, you can use a knife and cut it thin or in chunks. It looks like cheese, it’s not. It’s butternut squash sliced thin.

In hindsight I think I would use a kabocha or delicata squash next time so I didn’t have to peel it. I forgot to take a picture of the spinach I used, but there was about 1/2 a bag of spinach. You can use kale or chard if you like. I used the odds and ends of the cheese I had in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 350F and gather the ingredients.

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (250 grams) ricotta
  • 1 cup (100 grams) finely grated parmesan, divided in half
  • 1 cup (85 grams) coarsely grated cheese I used aged cheddar and mozzarella
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) water or two tomatoes, I used tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 – 2  teaspoons kosher salt, depending on how salty your cheese is
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste-optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced-I used a shallot
  • 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced sage leaves or 1 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves (optional)
  • 5 ounces (1/2 a bag) spinach or another green, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4-pound (560-grams) butternut or another sturdy winter squash, peeled, seeded, sliced thin or 1 pound (455 grams) in prepared chunks, sliced thin
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) dried pasta (see Note), broken into pieces if large/long

Mix the first 12 ingredients in a bowl

Then the last 3 ingredients.

Mix them together and put them in a casserole dish and sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

This is after one hour.

Take the foil off and bake it another half hour until it is brown and crispy.

Let it sit for a half hour or so before you cut it to let it set so it is easier to cut and get out of the casserole. There you go. Lovely side dish or vegetarian main dish.

Well, this is it, week 23. Another CSA season in the books. Thanks for a great year. Maybe I’ll see some of you at the Winter CSA pickup, if not hopefully next year.

Be well and happy.



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1 Response to Winter Squash, Spinach and Broken Pasta Bake

  1. Marella Colyvas says:

    Thank you, Mo! This looks delicious, however, HOW does one peel a butternut squash WITHOUT baking it? I do NOT have a mandolin. I am afraid of knives and don’t think I have any sharp enough to cut a tough squash without baking it first. I always feel intimidated cutting them anyway.

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