The slow bake

Pasta and but­ter­nut squash cake

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Prep 20 min Cook 2 hr 30 min Serves 6

250g fresh egg lasagne sheets, torn into large pieces

½ but­ter­nut squash, (400g net weight) peeled, de­seeded and cut into very thin, 2-3mm-thick slices (use a man­do­line, ide­ally) 50g parme­san, grated

3 gar­lic cloves, peeled and crushed 65g pine nuts, toasted

35g basil leaves, roughly torn

1½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves

¼ tsp freshly grated nut­meg

¾ tsp dried chilli flakes

1 egg

2 large plum toma­toes (220g net weight), coarsely grated and skins dis­carded 150g baby spinach 3 tbsp olive oil 200g ri­cotta 200g feta, crum­bled into 1-2cm pieces Salt and black pep­per

2 tsp pars­ley leaves, chopped This ‘cake’ was a rev­e­la­tion to me: who would have thought you could cook pasta for two hours and end up with some­thing fresh, su­per­com­fort­ing and full of tex­ture? Serve hot for lunch or din­ner, or leave to cool, cut into wedges and have it as a por­ta­ble cold lunch for work, school or as part of a pic­nic spread. Bear in mind that the chilli heat re­ally comes through, so leave it out if you want to make this more child-friendly.

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas 3½. Line the base and sides of a 22cm cake tin with bak­ing pa­per.

Put the first 12 in­gre­di­ents in a large bowl with two ta­ble­spoons of olive oil, three-quar­ters of the ri­cotta and feta, a tea­spoon and a quar­ter of salt, 50ml cold wa­ter and plenty of pep­per, and stir to com­bine.

Tip the pump­kin mix into the cake tin, press­ing it down firmly to flat­ten, then top with the re­main­ing ri­cotta and feta, and cover se­curely with foil. Bake for an hour and a half, then dis­card the foil, driz­zle over the re­main­ing ta­ble­spoon of oil and bake for an­other half-hour, un­til the top is crisp and browned. Leave to cool for 30 min­utes, then re­move from the cake tin, sprin­kle with pars­ley and serve.

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