• Creamy pumpkin pasta bake (with dairy free option)

    by  • May 26, 2013 • Mains • 0 Comments

    Gareth had a housemate who he always went mountain biking with (hi Jeff!). His housemate, after completing his study, moved back to his home town (a few hours drive away). So being the good friend that he is, Gareth would go and visit. Of course they inevitably end up mountain biking with a group of friends.

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    Upon returning from these trips battered and bruised, Gareth would be on a high. Elated from the awesome riding he’d done, he’d share stories of bravery… stories of near misses… and stories of stupidity (ahem, I mean… skill?). But among these stories, the story closest to his heart would always be the one about the amazing pumpkin pasta bake he’d eaten.

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    The group of mountain bikers Gareth goes riding with are addicted to a restaurant called House of Lasagne and will travel an hour each way to indulge in it after a day of hard riding. Or simply after someone mentioned the name. The pumpkin pasta was Gareth’s favourite dish and without fail, after every visit to the restaurant he would try to replicate it at home.

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    I’d make suggestions, but having never eaten it myself, only helped so much. So we ate pumpkin bake after pumpkin bake to try to replicate the meal.

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    That was until I went up to visit too. And boy, I had no idea what I was missing! It was incredible, so creamy and flavourful, and worth the two hour round trip. I now understood.

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    I was then on a mission to replicate it myself. It was addictive! We came close to pumpkin pasta bake perfection, but then we started to change the way we ate at home. We could not forget our dear pumpkin pasta though, so it meant that we had to try to recreate it again, but this time with healthier ingredients.

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    After a few tried and failed attempts, the delicious result is below. It may not be House of Lasagne pasta bake but it’s pretty darn close. And a heck of a lot better for you.

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    Take my sister as a testimony to it’s taste. The first time we served it to her she ate three full sized plates of it. Much to my Gareth’s disappointment!

    So please, enjoy!

    Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Bake

    Serves 10 or one hungry sister, Inspired by the House of Lasagne

    Ingredients

    500g pasta of your choice, cooked and drained (we have used wholemeal and buckwheat, both are delicious)

    1/4 pumpkin cooked and mashed

    270 ml pure coconut milk (you could lessene this amount a fraction if needed, it’s so creamy and yum!)

    1/2 pumpkin (kent I think) cut and boiled, drained then mashed

    Dash nutmeg and/or cinnamon (you don’t need much of these two, and could make it without them but they bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin perfectly)

    Drizzle cold pressed olive oil or knob of butter

    Salt and pepper to taste

    A few sage leaves, chopped (optional)

    Favourite hard cheese to taste (optional, but we love cheese so we went to town – a sharp aged or tasty is delicious)

    Method

    1. Prepare ingredients and preheat oven to 180ᵒC/350ᵒF.
    2. Mix all ingredients together except half the cheese or all the breadcrumbs.
    3. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until the desired crunchiness is achieved.
    4. Serve straight from the oven with some slightly crunchy steamed greens.

    Notes and suggestions: Some baby spinach mixed in would be good I think. If you are dairy free omit cheese and spinkle pasta with homemade breadcrumbs before baking for some extra crunch. We made heaps and stored some in the freezer for lunches. If needed you could make the whole thing a day ahead and simply bake when required.

    Have you ever loved a meal or food so much you’ve had to recreate it?

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