As we transition to autumn and its colder and darker days, all I crave is a warm bowl of hearty deliciousness. One vegetable I never ate when I was growing up was butternut squash – I think my parents thought we wouldn’t like it. Well, they hadn’t tried adding it to pasta! In this dish, the skins can be peeled then roasted or simply left on. Save the seeds as you can toast them and have them as a snack or use them to add extra crunch to a soup or salad.
Seed to Skin Squash and Sage Pasta
5-7 sage leaves (or 1 tbsp dried sage)
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped (keep the skin and seeds)
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (save the skins for your vegetable stock or compost them)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp paprika
200ml milk (I like coconut but use any you have)
500g pasta (I like pappardelle for its thickness and because the lengths pick up more of the sauce)
salt and pepper
handful of rocket or shredded kale
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. In a bowl, mix the sage, squash seeds and skins with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the tray once roasted and lightly crisped. Separate the sage, seeds and skins for later.
Put your butternut squash, garlic and onion on the same baking tray with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the paprika. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp and the flesh is soft.
Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray. To a blender or food processor, add your roasted garlic and onion and half of the milk. Give this a good blend until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted butternut squash, a few leaves of roasted sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until thick and a bit chunky still – if you blend at a high speed continuously, you’ll end up making a soup.
Cook the pasta until tender (or cooked to your liking), then transfer to a serving bowl with heaping spoonfuls of the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the roasted pumpkin skins
and toasted seeds. Adding a bit of leafy greens like rocket or shredded kale can really give this dish more nutritional value (we musn’t forget our greens).
Extracted from More Plants Less Waste by Max La Manna (Yellow Kite, approx €22). Photograph by Andrew Burton.