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Meat-free FEASTS for next to nothing



I used to make something very similar to this, but in individual portions, as a vegetarian dish in my dad’s pub in the 80s, so it brings back fond memories. It’s based on the classic petits pois à la Français – the most delicious sweet pea, lettuce and onion dish – but I’ve added potatoes to bulk it up a bit, cottage cheese to lighten it, and made a family-style pie. This is a brilliant meat-free Monday dish. Serves 6 414 calories per serving Total time: 40 minutes 2tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting 375g (13oz) ready-rolled puff pastry 1 large free-range egg 1 onion Olive oil 1 large potato 500g (1lb 2oz) frozen peas 1 large knob of unsalted butter ½ an iceberg lettuce 1 vegetable stock cube 1tsp English mustard 1tsp mint sauce 4 heaped tsp cottage cheese Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. On a flour-dusted surface, unroll the pastry (it should be roughly 25cm x 40cm/ 10in x 16in), then transfer it to a large baking tray. Score a 3cm (1¼in) border on to the pastry then lightly score the inner section in a large criss-cross pattern.

Beat the egg in a small bowl, then eggwash the whole thing. Bake for 17 minutes, or until golden, risen and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to one side to cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, lightly score round the border, cutting through the top few layers of pastry only, then use a fish slice to carefully lift up and remove the inner section (like a lid), leaving a layer of pastry at the bottom, and put to one side.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion, put it into a medium pan with a lug of oil and cook for around 10 minutes, or until soft and sticky, stirring occasional­ly. Peel the potato and cut into 1cm (½in) dice, then stir into the pan along with the peas, butter and flour. Finely shred and add the lettuce, cook for another 10 minutes, then crumble in the stock cube and pour in 300ml (½pt) of boiling water. Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through. Stir in the mustard and mint sauce, then season the mixture to perfection. Pour into the pastry case, ripple through the cottage cheese, then carefully top with the pastry lid and serve in the middle of the table with a big salad.


Rotolo is definitely one of the more unusual pasta dishes that you’ll see – many people have never eaten it before. The way I’ve prepared mine means it kind of feels like eating a lasagne or a cannelloni, but it looks really pretty and you get the gnarly crispy bits of pasta on the top, complement­ed by the softer pasta hiding underneath the sauce. Serves 4 to 6 430 calories per serving Total time: 2 hours 20 minutes 1 butternut squash, roughly 1.2kg (2lb 12oz) 1 red onion Olive oil 1tsp dried thyme 500g (1lb 2oz) frozen spinach 1 whole nutmeg, for grating 4 cloves of garlic 1 x 700ml jar of passata 6 large fresh pasta sheets (roughly 15cm x 20cm/6in x 8in each) 50g (1¾oz) feta cheese 20g (¾oz) Parmesan cheese Optional: a few sprigs of fresh sage Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cook the squash whole on a roasting tray for around 1 hour 30 minutes, then remove from the oven. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion, put it into a medium pan on a medium-low heat with a lug of oil, the thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasional­ly. Stir in the frozen spinach, cover with a lid and allow to slowly cook for another 15 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated, then remove from the heat.

Cut the squash in half, discard the seeds and skin, then mash up with a fork. Keeping them separate, season both the squash and spinach to perfection with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg.

Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves, then put them into a shallow 28cm (11in) casserole pan on a medium heat with a splash of oil and fry for a couple of minutes, or until lightly golden. Pour in the tomato passata, then add a splash of water to the empty jar, swirl it around and pour it into the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil, simmer for just 3 minutes, then season to perfection.

On a clean work surface, lay out the pasta sheets facing lengthways away from you. Working quickly so that your pasta doesn’t dry out, brush them with water, then evenly divide and spread the squash over the sheets (1). Sprinkle over the cooked spinach and crumble over the feta (2). Now roll up the sheets (3) and cut each one into 4 chunks (4), then place side by side in the tomato sauce.

Finely grate over the Parmesan, then pick the sage leaves (if using), toss in a little oil and scatter over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at the bottom of the oven until golden and crisp. Delicious served with a fresh green salad.

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