Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie contains a really inspirational vegetarian chapter at the beginning of the book, not the back, which is where some ‘vege’ recipes sometimes get shoved. Squash & Spinach Rotolo really catches the eye but the recipe, which takes up to three hours to make (the butternut squash takes 90 mins to roast), isn’t the easiest to get right.
My latest attempt didn’t go to plan. I put too much water on my lasagne sheets, then overloaded the soggy sheets with filling which made it spill out when cooking in the pan. Infuriating. This isn’t a meal to make on a weeknight and is probably best for prepping on a Sunday evening in readiness for a ‘meat-free Monday’. As for the taste, actually it was pretty good, although I do find frozen spinach a little overbearing compared to fresh varieties.
One to try again, when I can summon up sufficient enthusiasm that is required to match the effort needed. More experienced cooks may fair better with this. If you love butternut squash, check out home-made butternut squash tortellini, which again needs a degree of skill to pull off, but is an excellent vegetarian pasta option.
Recipe: Squash & Spinach Pasta Rotolo
Calories: 430 per portion
Serves: 4 to 6
Book: Jamie Oliver – Save with Jamie
Prep time: Approx 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 2 hours 10 minutes
- 1 butternut squash (roughly 1.2kg)
- 1 red onion
- Olive oil
- 500g 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 each)
- 50g feta cheese
- 20g Parmesan Cheese
- Optional: a few sprigs of fresh sage
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £0.90
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/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 sea salt, black pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
Peel and finely slice the garlic, then put it into a shallow 28cm 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 passata, then add a splash of water to the empty jar, swirl it around and pour it into the pan. Bring to the boil, simmer for just 3 minutes, then season to perfection.
On a lean work surface, lay out the pasta sheets facing lengthways away from you. Working quickly so your pasta doesn’t dry out, brush them with water, then evenly divide and spread the squash over the sheets. Sprinkle over the cooked spinach and crumble over the feta. Roll up the sheets and cut each one into 4 chunks, 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.