by Annabel Alder

Basic ingredients for two servings:

  • 2 handfuls of pasta per person (my favourite here is baby macaroni)
  • 1/2 butternut squash, or 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 cup of peas
  • ⅓ pack of feta (dairy or vegan)

Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of rice vinegar (or 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar)

Despite living in central London in 2022, my flat hasn’t got a freezer (I know) and somehow all my meal-planning sensibilities have gone out the window. Preparing vegetables before the week begins, and working with the food left in the fridge, is key to cutting down a food budget, and this pasta combines all my favourite foods in one meal. Every ingredient’s quantities and specifics can be altered for what you like – this is essentially a catch-all pasta dish that you can make in less than 20 minutes. It’s great hot or cold, at 11am or 1am, and a super simple dish for doubling-up quantities and sharing with friends. 

The most complicated part of this recipe is roasted squash. At less than £10, I think a roasting tin is the best investment you can make in this economy, but you can always use a baking tray instead, or boil the squash if you’re strapped for time. Remove the skin and seeds, and dice the squash into small cubes. This can last in the fridge for up to four days, so you can make extra to eat another day!

For your marinade, mix the olive oil, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) together, and pour this over the squash (you can double up the quantities if you have more squash). Heat the oven to 190°C, and cook for 40 minutes, tossing halfway through to make sure they cook evenly. This can be stored for up to five days.

If you’re boiling the squash, wait for a saucepan of water to bubble, then add the cubes and keep it at this heat for 10–12 minutes, or until it’s tender enough to mash easily with a fork. Drain away the water, then pan-fry them on a high heat with some olive oil for around a minute. Season with salt, chilli and pepper afterwards.

Boil the pasta as instructed on the packet – usually for about 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, defrost or boil the peas, and crumble up the feta. When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and immediately serve in bowls. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over, stirring for about a minute so that the cheese melts into the pasta. Combine with the peas and squash, and eat it while it’s warm! You can share the second portion with a flatmate, or pack it up in a takeaway box and enjoy it for lunch tomorrow.

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