Imagine an extra-creamy butternut squash sauce poured over your favourite pasta, drizzled with some garlicky pesto and topped with fresh spinach. With some meal-prep this makes the perfect comforting weeknight dinner, that comes together in a whim.
- Prep Time: 45m
- Cook Time: 15m
- Total Time: 1h
Butternut Squash Sauce
- 1 kilogram butternut squash
- 2 cloves garlic
- 125 millilitres vegetable broth (1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra-virgin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh black pepper
Vegan Basil Pesto
- 1 cup or big handful fresh basil (or a mixture of radish leaves, parsley & spinach)
- 30 grams walnuts (1/4 cup)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or fresh parmesan if you're not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- juice & zest of 1/2 organic lemon
- 80 millilitres olive oil, extra-virgin (1/3 cup)
- 500 grams shell or conchiglie pasta (or any other kind that you like)
- 2 big hands fresh spinach, stems removed (or baby spinach) (2 cups tightly packed)
- 1 small hand chopped walnuts (optional)
- kosher salt & fresh black pepper
Prepare Butternut Squash Sauce
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray with (reusable) baking paper. Cut butternut squash in halves and place, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking tray. Bake for 30-40mins until soft and tender. Meanwhile prepare pesto and other ingredients. Poke with a sharp knife to make sure the squash is cooked through. Let cool until cold enough to handle.
- Remove pumpkin seeds with a spoon. Scoop out flesh and place in the container of your blender or a high mixing container. Add veggie broth, oil, salt and pepper and blend on high (using a standing or hand blender) until smooth. Set aside or see notes if you are meal-prepping for later.
- Combine all ingredients in a kitchen machine or blender and blend for 1 minute or until a smooth paste has formed. Set aside or store in the fridge in a screw-on glass jar, for up to 2 weeks.
Assembling the pasta
- Fill a big pot with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling add salt and pasta and cook according to package description.
- Meanwhile add the pumpkin sauce to a skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once the pasta is cooked al-dente, reserve 250ml (1 cup) cooking liquid and drain with a colander. Add half of the cooking water together with the pasta to the pumpkin sauce and stir to combine.
- Add washed spinach (cut & stems removed, if you're using bigger leaves) and stir through. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the prepared pesto and chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.
- You can use store-bought basil pesto if you are in a hurry or cannot find fresh basil. Also, roast the butternut squash in advance (maybe on the weekend), make the sauce and store in the fridge for up to 5 days for an easy weeknight dinner.