Penne et Butternut Squash


serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
60 g (2 oz) 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) peeled and deseeded butternut squash
8 tbsp water
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh penne, or other pasta shape
15 g (1/2 oz) 1 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
125 g (4 1/2 oz) 1/2 cup ham, cut into strips
200 ml (7 fl oz) scant cup single (light) cream
60 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley salt and pepper


1. Mix together the oil, garlic and breadcrumbs and spread out on a large plate. Cook on HIGH power for 4 - 5 minutes, stirring every minute, until crisp and beginning to brown. Set aside.

2. Dice the squash. Place in a large bowl with half of the water. Cover and cook on HIGH power for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to stand for 2 minutes.

3. Place the pasta in a large bowl, add a little salt and pour over boiling water to cover by 2.5 cm (1 inch). Cover and cook on HIGH power for 5 minutes, stirring once, until the pasta is just tender but still firm to the bite. Leave to stand, covered, for 1 minute before draining.

4. Place the butter and onion in a large bowl. Cover and cook on HIGH power for 3 minutes.

5. Coarsely mash the squash, using a fork. Add to the onion with the pasta, ham, cream, cheese, parsley and remaining water. Season generously and mix well. Cover and cook on HIGH power for 4 minutes until heated through.

6. Serve the pasta sprinkled with the crisp garlic crumbs.

If the squash weighs more than is needed for this recipe, blanch the excess for 3-4 minutes on HIGH power in a covered bowl with a little water. Drain, cool and place in a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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