Roasted butternut and mozzarella pasta bake
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Roasted butternut and buffalo mozzarella pasta bake

Creamy penne pasta bake studded with cubes of sweet, roasted butternut squash and chunks of buffalo mozzarella, flavored with fresh thyme.
Course Pasta, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Alida Ryder

Ingredients

for the roasted butternut

  • 1 medium butternut squash chopped into 1cm cubes (I leave the skin on but you can peel it if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs

for the bechamel/white sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2-3 cups warm milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

for the pasta bake

  • 500 g cooked penne pasta reserve 1 cup of cooking water
  • 200 g buffalo mozzarella broken into chunks
  • fresh thyme optional

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Combine the butternut squash with the oil, honey, thyme and seasoning then transfer to the baking sheet. Spread the butternut out into a single layer then place in the oven.
  • Allow to roast for 30 minutes or until the butternut is soft and starting to caramelise.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk until it has all been absorbed, add the bay leaf then turn down the heat and allow to simmer, whilst stirring regularly, until the sauce is cooked through.
  • Add the nutmeg and season to taste.
  • Combine the cooked pasta and bechamel sauce, adding a little of that pasta's cooking water if the mixture seems too thick, then stir in the roasted butternut and chunks of mozzarella. Top with fresh thyme sprigs, if using.
  • Transfer to a baking dish then place in the oven.
  • Allow to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling and the mozzarella has melted.
  • Remove from the oven then allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.