This recipe is a new one that kind of came together because I’d been craving some good old-fashioned pasta bake. It’s super easy to make and is one of our favourite Meat-Free Monday meals.
½ butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
500 g dried penne
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
1tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
750 ml vegetable stock
150 g your favourite cheese, grated (we used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
1 handful Parmesan cheese, grated
2-3 handfuls of spinach
Paprika to sprinkle over the top
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 180°C Fan Forced. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and pop in the hot oven for around 30 minutes, or until tender.
Step 2: Heat a couple of lugs of oil into a large frying pan, add the onion and cook until nearly tender. Add in garlic, chilli and basil stalks and cook over a low medium heat for around 15 minutes (making sure not to brown the onion). Add the tomatoes and roasted pumpkin to the sauce and bring to the boil. Add in dried herbs then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Step 3: While the sauce is simmering cook pasta. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water.
Step 4: Tear up the basil leaves and add to the pan with the spinach. Stir in the ricotta and the stock, then bring back to the boil. Season your sauce with salt and pepper. Mix the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water through the sauce.
Step 5: Grease an ovenproof dish with olive oil and spoon your pasta with the sauce into the dish. Cover with your cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
Step 6: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbling.