I have a medical condition that means I can’t resist buying squashes when they start to flood the markets. I don’t always know what I’m gong to make but I just love these knobbly, multi-coloured veggies. When experimenting with a couple of squashes one day I needed an iron boost so coupled them with some frozen spinach (one of my favourite post-natal nutrition ingredients) and made this spoon-lickingly good dish.
If you’ve been unsure about trying squash because the skin looks like a challenge I have a trick that makes it child’s play to get to the flesh so give it a whirl. I love food that feels like comfort food but is actually doing your body lots of good, this is one such dish. Cheesy Squash, Spinach and Garlic Bake makes a great side dish for a big Sunday lunch but it’s delicious by itself.
Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids
2 small squash of any variety (you want 250g of flesh)
550g small potatoes
400g cannellini beans
1 whole head of garlic
salt and pepper
35g unsalted butter
60g parmesan cheese
2 tbsps plain flour
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Slice a small sliver off the top of each squash and pierce the skin all over with a sharp knife. Place the squash, cut-side up, on a baking tray and pour over a little olive oil then rub over the exposed flesh. Pop the tray into the pre-heated over for 20 minutes. Peel the potatoes then place in cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling cook them for 5 minutes then drain.
- Take the squash out of the oven and turn the heat down to 190°C (170°C fan). Carefully cut away the squash skin (this is much easier to do than when the squash is raw). Remove the seeds and cut the flesh into cubes similar in size to the potatoes. Squash the head of garlic and remove each clove from the skins. Evenly arrange the potatoes, cannellini beans, squash, frozen spinach blocks and garlic cloves in a large baking tray. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and generously grind over salt.
- Put a small saucepan on a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add the butter and once it’s melted whisk in the flour. Let it cook for 1 minute then whisk in 100ml of milk. Keep whisking while you add the rest of the milk and the water. Grate in the parmesan and whisk until the cheese has melted. Pour the sauce over the veggies then grind over generously with pepper. Bake on a high shelf for 30 minutes at 190°C (170°C fan) then serve.