Achieving a creamy pasta bake without using dairy, or dairy alternatives is super easy using a gorgeously roasted squash. This butternut squash pasta bake is a fab vegan alternative to Mac + Cheese.
I honestly love this dish. It's so simple, yet so tasty. I gave up meat and dairy for lent not so long ago, and really wanted to try and achieve a macaroni cheese-esque dish without the cream, cheese or roux.
Roasting the butternut squash is the only time-consuming thing here. You could peel, dice and roast in smaller pieces, or even boil if you wanted to get a little shortcut that would save you a fair old bit of time. But for me, my personal preference is to slice the squash in half, scoop out those pesky seeds and criss-cross, and roast for one hour. It just adds some a deep, gorgeous, roasted sweetness to this butternut squash pasta bake.
Whilst the squash is roasting, you can get on with your sauce and cooking the pasta. Add the roughly sliced onions, garlic and chilli to a pan over medium-low heat and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until everything is soft and super mushy.
Cook the macaroni (or penne, whatever you fancy) to al dente and set aside too. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Constructing your Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
Once the squash is cooked, and cooled slightly, carefully scoop out the flesh and add it to a blender. You can use a large mixing bowl if you're using a stick blender. Leave the oven on at 200 degrees.
Next, add the onion mix and 250ml of vegetable stock and blend into a super smooth, creamy bright orange sauce. Then, tip that sauce back into onion pan before adding oregano, nutmeg and sage. Give it a big stir to combine and then add the cooked pasta, and stir again. The sauce should fully coat the pasta.
Tip the coated pasta into a large oven proof dish and scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake the pasta for 20 - 25 minutes until the top is golden and crunchy.
To serve - scatter over some fresh basil leaves, take the whole damn dish to the table, and dive in. We serve ours with garlic bread, but then we serve everything with garlic bread.
Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 onions
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 red chilli
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- ½ tbsp dried sage
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 500 g macaroni
- 30 g breadcrumbs optional
- Pre-heat oven to 200 Celcius. Carefully slice your butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh, using a sharp knife slice criss-cross along the squash, brush with oil and season with salt + pepper. Bake in the oven, skin side up, for one hour
- Meanwhile, get a pan of water on the boil for the macaroni.
- Slice the onions, crush the garlic, and slice the chilli. Add to a saute pan, with a glug of oil, over medium-low heat. Cook until everything is super mushy and translucent. It'll take about 15 minutes.
- Add macaroni to the pan, and cook to al dente.
- Drain the pasta, and set aside the onion mix until the squash is ready.
- Once the squash is super tender, carefully scoop out the flesh into a blender. Add the cooked onion mixture and vegetable stock. Blend until smooth.
- Tip the sauce back into saute pan and add nutmeg, oregano and sage. Stir in the macaroni until smothered in sauce. Tip contents into an ovenproof dish, scatter breadcrumbs over the top and bake for 20 minutes.
- Scatter basil leaves over the top if you so wish. Place the dish on the dining table and let everyone dig in.