Category Archives: Pasta dishes

Butternut squash, spinach and ricotta lasagne

lasagne1

The spinach typically bolted in the dry heat of the summer (which now happens around May – June time). But we decided to sow another row around late July – August, just in time for the torrential downpours that signal that period of the year that the schools still oddly call the ‘summer holidays’.

Spinach is very happy in wet weather, so it grew much better this time. Annoyingly though, it was growing right in the middle of a bed I wanted to use for next years garlic. So just at the point it was growing lush and strong, I pulled it all out. The carrier bag I fished out of the shed was too small to hold it all and I had to go back and find a bigger bag.

I made a potato and spinach curry with the first bunch, and then I stripped off the best leaves from the rest, washed it thoroughly and squashed it all into a bag for the freezer. This seems to have worked well. I wasn’t sure whether to lightly cook it first, but in the end I decided to freeze it fresh, and then I just had to slice a chunk off with a knife and cook in down in a pan in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • a handful of spinach
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese (250g)
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • lasagne sheets
  • creme fraiche or cream (might not be needed).
  1. Firstly puree the squash by peeling, de-seeding and chopping the squash, placing it all in a roasting pan with the garlic cloves, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for around 30 mins. Take out the garlic cloves and squeeze out the garlic, then tip it all into a food processor with a splash of milk and a pinch of nutmeg, half the ricotta cheese and whizz until smooth.
  2. Cook the spinach lightly until wilted, allow to cool and then chop. Mix with the remaining ricotta cheese, the egg and a little more nutmeg.
  3. Take a baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of the squash puree. Add a grating of parmesan cheese, then a layer of lasagne sheets and finally a covering of the spinach and ricotta mixture. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a spinach and ricotta layer. If there isn’t enough of this for the final topping, mix in a spoonful of creme fraiche or cream to make it go further. Finish with another grating of parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in a moderate oven for around 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

lasagne2

Salmon and leek pasta

salmon and leek pasta

If you make the pie recipe in my previous post, and like me, discover you can’t quite fit all of the filling in, don’t fret and certainly don’t throw it out. Pop it in the fridge (after using as many of the potatoes as you can) and the next day stir it into hot cooked pasta. Works a treat. In fact you could just make a bit more than you think you might need, and hey presto you have a meal in 10 minutes the following night.

Or, if you fancy the pie idea but not the faffing with puff pastry bit, then leave out the potatoes and just stir it into pasta anyway. Much easier … and I get to post two recipes in one. Result!

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