Autumn is the season of vibrant colours, cozy sweaters and mosy importantly, delicious comfort food. When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can compete with the warm hearty embrace if a loaded pasta dish. The star of the show for me is the satisfying crunch that comes from the toasted pine nuts and seeds. They add a delightful contrast to to sauce-less, yet creamy pasta and tender roasted butternut squash.
I served this pasta for a family gathering with a side of Focaccia and Kale salad. Needless to say, it went down a treat!!
- 1 butternut squash
- 250g mushrooms
- 1 pack Vivera 'bacon' bits
- 1/2 pack Violife vegan 'feta'
- 1 garlic head
- 100g pine nuts
- 100g mixed seeds
- 150ml olive oil
- 100g fresh sage
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- Dried thyme
- 1 lemon
- 500g wholemeal pasta
- To begin, let's dice your butternut squash. Start by cutting it in half and then into quarters. Remove the seeds using a spoon and discard them. Don't worry about peeling the squash; the skin will add a delightful crunch to the texture and help the squash hold its shape when roasted. Toss the squash in some oil and dried thyme, then roast it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or air fry for about 20 minutes.
- While the squash is in the oven, slice your mushrooms and sauté them in a tablespoon of butter along with one sliced garlic clove. Cook the mushrooms until they become slightly crispy, then add the Vivera bacon. Continue to fry them together for an additional 5 minutes or until both are nicely browned. Set this mixture aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a small amount of vegetable seasoning. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Once the pasta is done, drain it, but be sure to reserve some of the pasta water. Set the pasta and reserved water aside.
- Now, peel and finely slice the remaining garlic cloves. In a wok or a high-sided frying pan, add some olive oil and the sliced garlic. Sauté the garlic in the oil for 3-5 minutes on a low heat, just until it begins to brown, ensuring it doesn't burn.
- To the garlic and olive oil, add a knob of butter, a ladleful of the reserved pasta water, chopped fresh sage, and a teaspoon of dried thyme. Stir and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
- In a separate dry frying pan, gently toast the pine nuts and seeds on low heat. Be cautious, as they can brown quickly. Keep them moving around to avoid burning.
- Now, it's time to assemble your mouthwatering pasta dish. Add the cooked pasta to the wok with the olive oil, garlic, and sauce. Mix thoroughly until the pasta has absorbed the delicious flavours.
- Incorporate the roasted squash, mushrooms, bacon, toasted nuts, seeds, vegan feta crumbles, and the juice from one lemon. Give everything a good mix, and your dish is ready to be served. This pasta can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and it's scrumptious either way!