Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Butternut Squash Cannelloni

So, back before Christmas, I was given the 'task' of cooking dinner for the family, and decided to recreate a meal my friend and I cooked during the last week of term. (Well, it was mostly his creation, I just chopped and stirred as I was told to!).
Butternut squash cannelloni
Yum yum yum
It's a bit time consuming, but worth it! It was also quite nice to have butternut squash in a form that wasn't soup for once, so read on and find out how to create it for yourself.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 leek
  • A few rashers of bacon
  • Cannelloni tubes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Mixed herbs (/any green herbs you can find and want to throw in!)
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Cheddar cheese (or whichever cheese you want to use for a cheese sauce)
Ok, so I don't have any real measurements, I did it mostly by eye and an 'I think that will be enough' mindset.

Grab your butternut squash and weapon of choice, and chop in to small chunks.
Prepare butternut squash
I used about two thirds
Pop these on a baking tray, with a dash of oil (or, as I used, the Flora one calorie spray; it's easier to give them a good covering), a shake of salt, pepper, and herbs.
Roasting butternut squash
Ready for the oven
Tray goes in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes (maybe?!), until the pieces are soft and roasted.

In the meantime, chop up the bacon, take off the fat if you want to be healthier, and sizzle it away in a hot pan until nice and crispy. Then add in finely chopped leek, I think I used about 2/3 of the leek, and soften that off. Try not to burn it, which I may have almost done.
Frying leeks and bacon
Frying away nicely
Also, while that fries, heat the tin of tomatoes in a pan with the garlic. And you don't even have to faff about chopping the garlic up - simple! Season this as you wish, at this point I discovered we had more than just oregano in the cupboard so added some more flavourings, along with a shake of paprika to give it a little kick. Once this is heated and reduced slightly, take it off the heat and purée it with a potato masher.
Homemade tomato sauce
My tomato sauce ingredients
Making tomato sauce
Throw it all in the pan - simple!
You can also start making your cheese sauce. A knob of butter, handful of flour, salt, pepper and some milk finished with a handful of cheese... I do this extremely by eye, and like to make it quite thick. But if you need some measurements, and a method, for inspiration, try this to get you started.
Cheese sauce recipe
Step 2 of cheese sauce
By now the squash should be happily roasted. Pop this in a pan or bowl and mash it up, then stir in the leek and bacon, and a few dollops of cheese sauce which helps to bind it together.
Butternut squash cannelloni filling
Mix it all together
Line the bottom of your dish with the tomato sauce, and prepare to get a little messy.
Home made tomato sauce
In with the base
Filling the cannelloni can be interesting... Last week we did it with a teaspoon each, using the end of the teaspoon to help squish it all the way in. I used my initiative (wow!) and thought to use a piping bag. It was only slightly tricky in that because it had quite a large hole at the end, bits of the mix kept falling out as I tried to fill it. However, it meant it was very easy to fill the tubes and was far less messy than how we had previously done it (no pictures though, I was still a bit too messy for that!).
Cannelloni recipe
Cannelloni all filled up
Place the tubes on top of the tomato as you fill them - it's best to work out the arrangement for them before you start anything so that you know the best layout for them. I managed to fill 11 tubes, which fit the dish perfectly and I also made exactly enough squash mix to fill that many (measurements by eye can go so well sometimes!).
Butternut squash canneloni
Butternut squash cannelloni
Spread cheese sauce on top, add a sprinkling of salt, pepper and herbs and pop it in the oven for half an hour, again, at about 200°C. Take it out when it looks ready and bubbling, but make sure you leave it long enough for the pasta to cook.
Butternut squash cannelloni
Ready to plate up
Serve and enjoy!

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