I love a good pasta bake- it can feed a whole family, it can be very cost effective and can also be reheated for lunches or leftovers the next day. I practically grew up on macaroni cheese and tuna pasta bake and have spent years making these too.
This is butternut squash bake is something a little bit different in that the creamy sauce is made entirely from roasted butternut squash (with sage and a bit of chilli), cashews and vegetable stock. It makes a yummy, guilt-free sauce which is perfect for pasta. If you wanted something more simple, you could just use the sauce with a bit of pasta and some ricotta cheese and extra fried sage spinkled over the top.
We cooked this just for the two of us and then ate the leftover servings for lunches over the following two days. Great way to prep ahead and have a nutritious home made meal on hand
Butternut Squash Pasta bake
1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp dried sage
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
75g cashew nuts
1 stock cube or jelly
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves or garlic, crushed
3 chicken breasts or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced into 2cm chunks
3 handfuls of kale
3 handfuls of spinach
450g wholewheat pasta (or chosen alternative)
2 balls Mozerella cheese
50g grated Parmesan cheese
1- Pre-heat the oven to 180*C.
2- Peel and de-Seed the butternut squash and chop into even sized 2cm chunks.
3- Place into a large freezer bag and add the dried sage, chilli, 1tbsp of the rapeseed oil and season well with salt and pepper. Mix in the bag and empty onto a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the butternut squash is cooked through. Mix the butternut squash chunks halfway through.
4- Meanwhile, fry the onions on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes in 1 tsp of the rapeseed oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
5- Turn up the heat slightly and add the chicken. Fry for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
6- Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the packet instructions in boiling water and drain once cooked.
7- When the butternut squash is cooked,
remove 2/3 from the pan and place into a blender. Add the kale to the oven pan and place back in the oven to 5 minutes.
8- Add to the blender the jelly stock, 400ml hot water and the cashews and blend until smooth.
9- Pour the sauce onto the chicken mix, add the spinach and warm through gently to boiling and until the spinach is wilted.
10- Pre- hear the grill and warm through an oven proof dish (mine is 25cm x 25cm).
11- Once warm: into the dish, add half the pasta and half the chicken sauce mix and stir to combine. Add the roasted butternut squash and kale and half the mozzarella torn into piece (this makes for a yummy cheesy centre) and then the remaining pasta and sauce mix.
11- Top with the remaining torn mozzarella and grated cheese and grill for 5-6 minutes until crispy and golden.
Serve with a yummy green salad!