Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Autumnal Pasta Bake

I was just going to roast the butternut squash with red chillies, but I thought I've done that.  I want to try something else.  The roasted butternut squash, with chilli was then pureed in a food processor along with a handful of fresh coriander, sunflower seeds and olive oil.  Great I thought, this will be good to serve as a pasta sauce.  But once I had cooked the pasta, in this case conchiglie and it was stirred into the butternut puree and thought, ooh too rich.  I need to cut the sweet buttery consistency. So I boiled some puy lentils that I had in the kitchen cupboards.  It was starting to taste good, I just needed to tweak it a little more for colour to lift it, hence the final addition of red pepper.  The dish was finally complete.   Once baked in the oven: crisp here and there, it was brought straight to the table. 

Now what to call it?!  Autumnal Pasta Bake.  I was going to write Coriander Chilli Butternut Squash Puy Lentils Red Pepper, but that would have been too much of a mouthful, so Autumnal Pasta Bake it was.  

I can only compare this Pasta Bake to a Macaroni cheese minus the cheese,.  The pureed butternut offered the same kind of clingy richness you get from the cheese.  This pasta bake also offered the same comfort you would get from a Mac'n'Cheese.  It stuck to your ribs, was hearty and warming.  I think this would be a good addition to your table for those of you planning for a grown up Halloween party. I served it alongside some sauteed greens, a simple green salad would also work well, maybe one with peppery rocket. 
My husband liked it, but indicated that he wouldn't have minded a bit of mature cheddar cheese grated on the top.  I responded he can do that tomorrow as we have plenty left over, but personally I don't think its necessary as its rich from the buttenut.  
I am sharing some of this vegan Pasta Bake with What I Ate Wednesday#142 hosted by Peas and Crayons; Eat Your Veg and Bangers and Mash for Family Foodies, a new event and finally Karen over at Lavender and Lovage for the October edition of Cooking with Herbs.
Autumnal Pasta Bake 
Serves 4 as a main or 6 with a side of greens
1 larger, butternut squash, peeled and chopped into even sized chunks
A little olive oil for coating
2 - 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 red pepper, core removed and diced into little cubes
Small handful of fresh coriander or parsley including stalks
60g sunflower seeds
100ml extra virgin oil
Salt and pepper to taste
300g pasta of your choice
100g puy lentils or brown lentils, cooked, drained and set aside
Drizzle of extra virgin oil
Optional: Cheddar cheese, rated - vegan or dairy variety
Preheat oven at gas mark 4/180oc.
Place the butternuts squash chunks onto a tray, along with the garlic and coat in the oil.  Roast for 25 minutes, turning it over now and again.  After 25 minutes, stir in the chilli flakes and dices red pepper ad bake for a further 5 minutes or so.  Turn off heat and allow to cool.
While this is cooling down, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.  Drain and set aside.
When cool enough, squeeze out the roasted garlic from its skins and transfer along with the other roasted ingredients into a food processor and blend.  Then add the fresh coriander (or parsley), sunflower seeds and extra virgin oil, salt and pepper to taste and puree until smoothish, its okay to have some texture.
Now scrape all the pureed butternut squash into the bowl with the pasta and stir well to combine, then stir in the puy lentils.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Finally, transfer into a large baking/casserole dish and spread out evenly.  Drizzle over the extra virgin oil. 
Optional: Scatter over the grated cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until the pasta is heated through.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  


  1. I agree on the cheese - defnitely required!

    1. :) I had a feeling you would agree with him :)

  2. Another yummy meal! I came across pureeing butternut squash to use as a sauce in a meal I tried a while back and loved it - must give it another go!

  3. Lovely bake - great idea to use pumpkin sauce as a pasta sauce - we just finished a large pasta bake last night and it was just great to have - are there some chunks of butternut squash in the bake as well as pureed?

    1. Yes, your right Johanna. I did keep some chunks of butternut back namely for visual impact for the photograph. So you can do the same if you wish.

  4. Hello! I´m go try this for the dinner! I have a new goal: eat vegetables everyday. I confess it´s pretty difficult but I´m trying and it´s fun too. Did I told you that your blog is my favorite "cook book"? love. Verónica

    1. Oh hello hello Verónica.
      So so good to hear from you, tis been long while. How are you and your little family x I hope you are able to incorporate more veg into your diet and THANK YOU so much for you truly lovely words 'favourite 'cookbook' :) made me smile, truly.

  5. Hi Shaheen

    This looks really tasty. I have never thought on pureeing the squash as I always just roast it in chunks and eat it like that. Might have to give this a try sometime.

  6. What a lovely and highly Autumnal pasta bake! I've pureed butternut before to make into a pasta sauce - great way to sneak a few extra veggies into little folks' tums I find. Love the lentil addition and all the flavourings, must have been very tasty indeed even without the cheese. Thanks so much for linking it up to our first ever Family Foodies event :)

    1. Thank you so much Lou. I'm glad I've discovered the event and hope to be a regular participant.

  7. Oh yes - this is definitely my kind of food! A great entry for this month's #FamilyFoodies :)


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