© David Loftus
squash and ricotta pasta bake
A simple and delicious supper time treat.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Pour a couple of glugs of olive oil into a large frying pan, add the garlic and basil stalks and fry for a couple of minutes. Add your tomatoes to the pan, breaking them up with a wooden spoon and bring to the boil. Drop in the chopped squash and simmer for 30 minutes.
Check if the squash is cooked by inserting a knife into a piece of squash, if it is not quite ready simmer for a further 10 minutes. Tear up the basil leaves and sprinkle into the pan with some salt and pepper. Stir in the ricotta and the stock.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the penne and cook for a couple of minutes less than it says on the packet. Drain, then toss with the sauce.
Rub a baking tray, ovenproof pan or earthenware dish with olive oil and spoon in all the pasta and sauce. Tear over the ball of mozzarella and top with the Parmesan. Rub the sage leaves with a little olive oil and put on top.
Pop it into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve with a crisp green salad.
Tip: If youre a chilli freak like me, try adding a chopped fresh chilli to your tomato sauce.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1 litre vegetable stock, preferably organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons of ricotta cheese
500g dried penne
a big handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 x 150g ball of mozzarella
a couple of sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked