Though we generally stick pretty well to the mealplans I post on Sundays, sometimes our plans change and we end up rearranging the order of meals or changing the meal altogether. For example, one night a couple of weeks ago, Dave got invited out at the last minute so I decided to leave the planned red kidney bean stew in the freezer for another night and make something quick and tasty from the leftovers in the fridge – squash and feta from my butternut squash, feta and caramelised onion tart.
When I buy whole butternut squashes, I like to roast the whole thing in wedges, with the skin still on (a tip from Jules at the excellent Stonesoup blog, by the way, though I do prefer to remove the seeds, which she doesn’t do). When roasted, the skin is edible and tasty and it saves the painstaking work of peeling the raw squash. Once roasted, you can keep the squash in the fridge over the week and add to various meals (particularly good in curries, salads, soups and pasta dishes).
I end up making pasta an awful lot when I’m alone, not out of laziness – well, maybe a little – but because I love big plates of comforting carbs. Dave tends to stick to tomato-based pasta sauces but I like to toss pasta in butter or oil, maybe some lemon juice, and add just a couple of vegetables, nuts, cheeses and herbs/spices for a really simple meal. Roasted squash and feta just seemed like the perfect ingredients to use in this way, so I went for it.
In the recipe below, I’ve doubled the butter I actually used, because i didn’t think it was buttery enough. But feel free to cut it back if you’re on a diet or avoiding fats. You could also use olive oil rather than the butter. Other variations include swapping the walnuts for pine nuts, adding frozen peas to the pasta water near the end of cooking, and throwing in any other roasted veg you have handy. Generally I would prefer to serve this with two types of veg but I’d had a veg-heavy lunch and two portions of fruit that day so wasn’t too fussed.
Butternut squash, feta and walnut spaghetti (serves one)
- 80g roasted butternut squash, cut into small chunks
- 50g feta cheese, diced
- 75-100g dried spaghetti
- 30g walnuts, chopped into small pieces
- 50g butter
- juice of 1/4 lemon
Put the spaghetti on to cook as per packet directions/personal preference. Once it’s cooked, drain in a colander. Leave the pasta in the colander to drain thoroughly while you return the pan to a low heat.
Melt the butter in the pan and toss in the walnuts and squash to warm through. Add the spaghetti and toss through the butter to coat. Season generously with black pepper, serve the pasta in a shallow bowl or plate, top with the cubed feta and squeeze over the lemon juice.
What;s your favourite quick and easy meal? How do you use up leftovers later on in the week?