We all need comfort food from time to time, but I like to think it can still be made with feel-good ingredients. My vegetable answer to bechamel sauce brings new life to everyone’s favourite cosy classic.
300g dried wholemeal macaroni or penne
600g cauliflower florets
500g pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
2 courgettes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
50g finely grated parmesan
80g finely grated cheddar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
16 sage leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g wholemeal bread, torn
1. Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. Lightly grease a 22cm x 28cm 2.75-litre-capacity baking dish. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Place the cauliflower, pumpkin, courgettes and thyme in a large saucepan over medium heat. Top with the milk and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using a stick blender, blend the vegetable mixture until smooth. Add the parmesan, cheddar, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
3. Place the sage and oil in a small bowl and toss to coat. Place the pasta in the dish and top with the vegetable purée. Sprinkle with the torn bread, sage leaves and oil, plus salt and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
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These recipes are from WeekLight by Donna Hay, which will be published by 4th Estate on 3 October, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 20 October call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk; p&p is free on all orders.