After another visit to Usk Farmers Market a week or so back, not only did I come back home with some proper home-made bread that I have been thoroughly enjoying, I also bagged at a super bargain price a mixed variety of squashes: uchiki kuri, acorn squash and patty pan and a handful of fresh parsley. I decided to remake the Pasta Loaf I made earlier this month with Swiss chard, this time with the squashes.
Here it is, a generous slice. I like how the creamy mixture bakes and fills the grooves of the pasta; and the way the squashes and the red pepper studs the loaf.
You can eat it as it is, but if you want to make more of a meal of it, then I would suggest serving it with some sauteed greens, such as cavolo nero aka black kale or even curly kale - my favourite winter green.
Serves 8 - 10 depending on size of slices
For the filling
200g - 225g macaroni pasta (or penne)
200g-300g mixed squash, roasted in the oven in some olive oil. then set aside to cool
1 red pepper, diced
Handful of fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water
250ml double cream
3 medium eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for shortcrust pasty to line a 2lb loaf tin
225g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
Cook pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pan, add the red pepper and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta, cooked squash and parsley.
Now make the shortcrust pastry
Add flour and salt to a bowl. Add the butter, then rub it into the flour with your fingertips, lifting the mixture out of the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible as this will make the pastry light. Continue until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs, then add the water, tablespoon at a time, pressing together to form a firm dough. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead rolling out the dough to line a 2 lb loaf tin.
Cut off over-lapping excess and re-roll this to fit as a lid.
Carefully transfer the pasta mixture into the pastry case, pressing down gently. Then in a bowl, combine the cornflour paste with cream, eggs and feta cheese. Season to taste. Then pour this over the pasta in the tin, until it covers the pasta.
Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little water, then top with the pastry lid. Seal the edges by pressing with your thumb or fork. Make a small hole in the top for the steam to escape. Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 4/180oc for 45 minutes to an hour or until the pastry is golden. Leave to cool 15 minutes, before turning out and cooling for a further 15 minutes before slicing. Or even better leave overnight.