Food doesn’t always have to be fancy or decadent. Most of my fondest memories are hearty home-cooked meals on a Sunday, with the table filled with people and everyone taking a heaped spoonful out of the same dish. There is something comforting and nostalgic about pasta. It is fairly simply but reliably delicious. Lasagne for example, is a firm favourite and it’s usually the pasta dish we go back to if we fancy Italian. We felt like something a little different this time though, with simple but strong flavours glimmering through each bite.

This is a roasted squash and spinach spaghetti with a creamed-mushroom, sage and white wine sauce, topped with pea-shoots, toasted pine nuts and finally, rocket.

I N G R E D I E N T S (s e r v e s 2):

For the butternut squash & spinach:

  • Half a butternut squash, finely chopped into small cubes.
  • Generous glug of olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Half a bag of spinach, but please feel free to adapt according to preference.
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (or a couple of sprigs of fresh)

For the sauce: 

  • Generous glug of olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 chestnut mushrooms, very finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ white wine
  • A few splashes of soya milk
  • ½ tsp mustard
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)

 For the rest:

  • Spaghetti (serves two)
  • A generous handful of pine nuts, toasted
  • Pea-shoots (optional)
  • A handful of rocket
  • 4 slices of beetroot (optional)

 M E T H O D:

For ultimate taste and texture, you want to roast your butternut squash first to add more depth. To do this, pre-heat your oven to 180c and toss your finely chopped squash onto a baking tray with salt and pepper and roast for about 12 minutes.

Whilst this is roasting, prep the rest of your veg. Finely slice your onion, garlic cloves, shallot and mushrooms and set aside.

Now begin your sauce. Heat up a generous glug of olive oil into a saucepan and once it is hot toss in one garlic clove and your shallot. Sautee it for a couple of minutes until it is translucent, then add your finely chopped mushrooms. Let these fry for a couple of minutes, scattering in the chopped sage and try to refrain from stirring the mixture so that the mushrooms gain a nice crisp to their texture.

Once the mixture has dried out slightly and the mushrooms have coloured and crisped, deglaze the pan with the white wine.
Let this simmer down, then add in a couple of splashes of soya milk, ½ tsp of mustard, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Whilst your sauce is simmering nicely, boil the water for your pasta, sprinkling in some salt.
Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook until it is al dente (roughly for ten minutes), and in the meantime heat up some oil in a pan, add your red onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, paprika, salt and dried thyme.
When the onion is translucent, add the spinach and the roasted butternut squash. Add in a couple of fresh sprigs of thyme and once the mixture is cooked, set aside and in a separate small frying pan quickly toast a couple of handfuls of pine nuts. Once they have browned, turn off the heat and start assembling your dish.

Drain most of the water out of the spaghetti but leave in a couple of tablespoons so that it adds to the sauce. Pour in the sage and white wine sauce, mixing together well, then add the butternut squash and spinach mixture.

Separate onto two plates, scatter over the pine nuts, some pea shoots, a handful of rocket and a couple of slices of beetroot for colour and freshness. Enjoy!


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