Hey everyone! How are you? I don’t have a guest blog lined up for today’s Blogger’s Food Diary, so today I thought I would share a recipe with you as a bit of midweek inspiration. If you have been reading these posts and would like to join in drop me an email with your post idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gradually going vegan and generally exploring more healthy options has meant I’ve had to get a little bit more inventive in the kitchen. If I am craving something a little decadent it is no longer as simple as popping to M&S and picking up a meal for one (yes, I’ve done that, yes, I’m basically Bridget Jones).
Now I prefer to make things from scratch, I like to know what I am putting in my body and where it has come from as much as possible. I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m trying to be better.
Last Wednesday, Hannah came over for dinner and some zen. I love when Hannah comes over, because she is 100% vegan goddess I can’t cheat the way I sometimes allow myself to. I also like to pull out the stops a bit, dinner at Hannah’s is a treat and she has cooked up a feast that has saved my soul on so so many occasions, it is only fair I go about paying some of that back.
With all this in mind, and with Autumn tingling at my toes, I had it in my head I wanted butternut squash and pasta, in a creamy garlic sauce. It was an experiment. And it worked, it worked so well I thought I would pass it on! This fed two of us, but our plates were piled high, and if you wanted to serve it with a side salad, or to save some aside for tomorrow’s lunch, you could easily get 3 or 4 portions from this.
1 small-medium butternut squash
75g Chestnut Mushrooms
Half a medium white onion
180gs Wholewheat pasta (I used fusilli but a tagliatelli would be perfect)
Olive oil for roasting and frying
Salt, black pepper and parsley to season
For the sauce
2 large cloves of garlic
A splash of white wine
150ml Almond milk
A thickening agent – I used a tablespoon of self raising flower soaked in hot water and mixed into a runny paste, just because that is all I had!
1. Chop up your butternut squash into cubes with the skin and the seeds removed (I left the skin on, figuring it would be easier to take it off after I had roasted it – it sort of was, but I felt like I lost a lot of squashy goodness in the process!) place on a tray a drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast until tender. I had my electric oven on full whack, and it took about half an hour.
2. Once the squash is roasted, remove from the tray and take to one side. You don’t want the squash to be too oily, so I patted mine down with some kitchen roll to soak up any excess.
3. In a large pan cook your pasta following the usual instructions (don’t worry if this cooks quicker than everything else, you can drain and leave to the side, until you need it again!)
4. Chop up your onion into small cubes, you want lots of oniony flavour but not great big chunks of it. In a frying pan heat up the olive oil, and fry off the onion until soft and brown.
5. While the onion is frying, slice the chestnut mushrooms up nice and thick, add to the pan once the onions have started to go soft.
6. Dice up your garlic cloves nice and small. Once your mushrooms and onions are almost done, add the garlic to the pan and fry for another 30 seconds – a minute – you don’t want the garlic to burn!
7. Add in your splash of wine, I used about a 100mls, but you can add more to taste later if you wish. Let the wine simmer off (is that a technical term?) and keep stirring the onions, garlic and mushrooms. This takes about a minute.
8. Add in half your almond milk, if you’re using gas, turn down your hob for this, if you’re on electric, I find it is best to have two hobs on one at a higher temperature, one at a lower. You don’t want the milk to boil or curdle so keep the pan on a fairly low heat, and stir through. The milk should mix in with the wine, and the oil and soak up all those flavours, turning a mushroomy colour.
9. If your sauce looks a little runny, add in a teaspoon of your thickening agent, and keep mixing till you get the consistency you want. My sauce went thick quite quickly.
10. Add in half your spinach, and let it wilt.
11. Add in your butternut squash the rest of the spinach and your drained pasta. Mix through until everything is covered in your sauce and warmed through. You may find the sauce is all soaked up or disappears, so I added in the rest of my almond milk as I went, what can I say I’m a big fan of creamy sauce!
12. Season with salt and pepper, and chopped parsely to taste, and serve in mountain loads, or with a side salad and bread, or in mountain loads with bread and salad, which of course is my preferred serving suggestion!
Let me know if you try this, or if you have any variation suggestions!
Live life & eat pasta x