Butternut squash and mozzarella pasta bake

The rain was lashing down on Tuesday and I was in dire need of comfort food to warm the cockles.

After humming and haying about what to make, I remembered about an old classic from my student days whick I used to make when the budget was tight and that was my butternut squash and mozzarella pasta bake.

Super simple to make and packed with a sprightly dose of protein, iron and carbs, this recipe is perfect for when your in search for that comfort fix but don’t want to opt for a greasy heavy plateful. Here’s how to make it:

What you need:

  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 200g pasta
  • Three cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Two handfuls of spinach (roughly chopped)
  • One butternut squash
  • One ball of light mozzarella
  • half a red onion
  • One tsp dried herbs
  • One tsp dried parsley
  • Pinch of salt (you’ll get a lot of seasoning from the vegetable stock)

How to make:

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta. Once cooked set aside and set the oven to 200c fan or gas mark 7.
  2. Peel the butternut squash and chop into cubes.
  3. Grab a soup pan and add two table spoons of olive oil over a medium heat.
  4. Dice the red onion and add to the pan along with the garlic and butternut squash. Cook until the onion cooks.
  5. Add the stock and leave to simmer until the butternut squash is soft (should be around 15 minutes).
  6. Once the butternut squash has softened, grab a hand blender and blend the mixture to a smooth. consistency (I like to keep the blend choppy to give the bake texture). You should be left with a saucy consistency – if it’s quite thick, add a little water to loosen.
  7. Add the chopped spinach and turn the heat down to low until the spinach is cooked. Take half of the mozzarella ball and chop into small pieces, add to the sauce mixture and stir until the mozzarella has melted.
  8. Add in the pasta and mix until the sauce evenly coats the pasta.
  9. Transfer the pasta mix to an oven proof dish and rip up the remaining mozzarella and scatter on top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

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Stay safe and eat well.

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