Sunday, January 12, 2014

Butternut, spinach and feta lasagne with roasted tomato sauce

When the garden offers up a complete meal to me I get very enthusiastic. While we eat something from the garden everyday, all year, there are these high points when I need only add one or two things from the pantry and the rest has been grown right here...a few steps outside my front door.

Last nights meal was one of those times. We had such a lovely butternut harvest that I wanted to make it the centre of a dish. Combined with all the beautiful ripe and juicy tomatoes we have managed to grow despite the blight that hit most of the plants, it was time to make a special meal.

I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's roast tomato sauce which simply involved halving 2 kilograms of ripe tomatoes, adding some garden herbs (I used thyme, rosemary, marjoram and oregano), drizzling with olive oil, salt and pepper and adding 8 peeled garlic clove.

While these roasted away until soft, and blackened a little around the edges, I put one of our whole butternuts to roast in the bottom of the oven.

I popped out to the garden to collect a big bundle of spinach which is still growing from what I planted back in Autumn 2013. By picking the outside leaves these giving plants continue to grow and grow. The tend to go to seed in summer, but we have had such a mild one so far that they are still producing loads of leaves. The leaves were washed, and then lightly fried with 2 red onions then left to sit with the heat off.

Back to the kitchen 1hr later and the oven roasted veg are done. I tipped the tomatoes into my food processor and whizzed it all together, herbs, garlic and all. I placed a layer of this in the bottom of the oven dish, then a layer of lasagne sheets.

Next came the spinach and a layer of crumbled feta and a fine grating of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Then another layer of lasagne.

Next up was the butternut which I had scraped from the skin and mashed with some butter and salt.
I drizzled some more of the tomato sauce on this then added a final layer of lasagne, loads more sauce and a good grating of Parmesan and Mozzarella.

This was then returned to the oven and baked for 40 minutes until it was bubbling. The tastes of this meal were phenomenal and the butternut was only second to the rich fragrant tomato sauce.



Lois Evensen said...

Yum! Good fresh home cooked food.

Greetings from Port Canaveral,

Kelly-Anne said...

oh my goodness! What a delicious looking meal! I wanted to ask you what you would suggest for butternuts that keep getting stung...

This is my first season growing butternut and lately I've been very discouraged watching one after another butternut turn yellow and shrivel up:-(

Much love,

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Hi Kelly-Anne,
Are they small butternuts that go yellow and shrivel? If so its not getting stung its just that they are not pollinated. You may have to play "bee" and pollinate them yourself. Take a look at this video on how to do it:

If they are large and dying then you may need to place a netting over them to prevent the pests getting them.

Hope this helps!

Kelly-Anne said...

Thank Aunty Wendy:-) The butternuts are both large and small when they go yellow and soft - you can see the mark where each one was stung and on opening them you can see the gross stuff inside... Some of my marrows as well as my gem squash were also stung, but the butternut seems to have fared the worst...:-(

Will have to see what I can do about covering the plants then! Thank you!


Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Kelly-Anne, we find that the marrows in mid to late summer get stung so I always try to get these in early so that we can harvest them all before the bugs arrive with the hot summer weather. I suggest next year you sow seed by late August and 2 weeks later you plant them out. You don't have frost where you are so they should be fine. Sorry about the bugs, it is the tough thing about growing organically.

Kelly-Anne said...

Thank you, Aunty Wendy, it has been quite tricky finding what works out here as our season definitley starts a bit later out here and the weather only warms up end September, but we'll not be giving up anytime soon! Lots of love, Kelly-Anne