Gluten free pasta bakes are the ultimate in comfort food, and this gluten free and vegetarian recipe is super simple and uses loads of fresh, tasty ingredients. It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside as well as give you a boost of plant-based goodness.
When I attended an event with Morrisons earlier this month, they very kindly sent me a whole bag of goodies to experiment in the kitchen with (as well as a beautiful bunch of lilies which are currently sitting proudly in my lounge) and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.
As they sent me basil, pine nuts and olive oil, it seemed only right I should make pesto! I wanted to jazz it up a bit so I added some fresh lemon and spinach to it as well for extra extra goodness boost. I have been suffering a terrible cold/virus the last week and citrus is a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C!
The only free from product Morrisons sent me was pasta - and as pasta pairs so naturally with pesto it was only right I make a pasta bake! I did buy some chicken but decided to keep this veggie (you could add some roast chicken on the side perhaps?) by adding deliciously sweet chunks of oven roasted butternut squash.
And, top tip, to reduce food waste, did you know you can eat the seeds from the butternut squash too? They are a bit like pumpkin seeds! I scraped mine onto a baking tray, tossed them in a little pink Himalayan salt and olive oil and roasted them for 15 minutes (see pic above). They went beautifully crunchy and were a delicious topping when I served this pasta bake up.
This recipe serves between 4-6 people (depending on whether you serve it as a main or as a side with some sliced roast chicken) and pasta bake is brilliant because you can cook it and reheat it the next day as well - or eat it cold for leftovers!
I hope you enjoy this hearty meal and feel free to embellish as you wish - if you want to make it dairy free too then just get rid of the feta on top!
Roasted butternut squash and spinach pesto pasta bake
300g gluten free Morrisons fusilli pasta
2 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves
2 large handfuls fresh basil
100g pine nuts
½ cup virgin olive oil
½ tsp chilli flakes
Pink Himalayan salt (generous pinch)
one medium-sized butternut squash
Two ripe tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 200'C. Peel the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds (save these for later!) and chop into approx 1-inch cubes. Place on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, shaking the tray half way to ensure the squash pieces turn over.
- Remove any major lumps/slime from the squash seeds (I wouldn't worry too much - it all adds to the flavour!) and toss in a tiny bit of olive oil and salt. When the squash has 15 minutes left, place the seeds on a baking tray and put in the oven for the remainder of the squash's cooking time.
- Make the pesto: Add the spinach, basil, olive oil, chilli flakes, salt and pine nuts into a food processor. Juice a lemon and add this then blend until it reaches a fairly smooth consistency.
- Cook the pasta: Boil a pan of water, and add the pasta to it. Bring back to the boil and cook for 9-10 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Remove the squash and the seeds from the oven. Add the pasta, pesto and squash to a large Pyrex dish and mix well. Put the seeds in a separate dish for serving.
- Slice the tomatoes and layer over the top of the pasta bake. Roughly chop the feta and crumble this over the top. Place back in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, garnish with a few sprigs of fresh basil and serve. I served the roasted seeds for people to sprinkle over their own meal.
What is your favourite gluten free pasta bake recipe? Comment below and tell me your favourites!