Meatless Winter Warming Spinach & Butternut Tagliatelle a la Beckett

Recipe Excerpt:This deliciously rich and creamy pasta dish is an almost weekly feature on our family menu as we navigate the heart of this chilly Gauteng winter. With a variety of warming spices to aid digestion, stimulate sluggish winter metabolisms and warm shivering bodies, the whole family looks forward to this creamy dish that bursts with flavour and my mommy-heart is extra happy knowing that I’m getting all these veggies into my guys – and they even go back for seconds. To serve fewer people, halve the pasta and leave out 1 cup of the extra water. 

Course: Entrée  

Cuisine: South African (Vegan) 

Difficulty: Easy 

Preparation Time: 20min 

Cooking Time: 40min 

Total Time: 60min 

Servings: 8 

Ingredients:  

½ a fresh butternut, cubed 

2 medium onions, roughly chopped 

6 cloves garlic, crushed 

1 tin coconut cream 

300g fresh baby spinach 

300g wholewheat tagliatelle pasta (or whatever pasta you like!) 

½ cup dry lentils, soaked (soaking optional for smoother sauce) 

1/2tsp dry thyme / 10 sprigs fresh 

1/2tsp dry rosemary / 1 sprig fresh 

60ml olive oil 

1tbs paprika 

1tbs sea salt 

1tbs Ina Paarman Vegetable Stock powder 

1tsp black pepper 

1tsp fenugreek (“Methi”) (optional) 

1tsp coriander 

1tsp fennel seeds (whole or ground) 

1tsp turmeric 

1tsp cinnamon 

1tsp ginger 

1tsp mustard powder 

1/4tsp asafoetida (“hing”) (optional) 

Pinch of cayenne pepper (or 7 twists of Pick ‘n Pay Chilli Explosion) 

2 cups of vegetable broth (or plain water) 

Method / Instructions:  

Turn oven on to 190◦C 

While oven is heating up, place coconut cream, lentils, salt and veg stock powder in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot – it will thicken as it becomes cooked. 

While you are nursing the lentils, chop butternut, onion and garlic and place in a large enough oven dish. Separate the layers of onion so that you have all single layers. 

Sprinkle thyme and rosemary on butternut/onion/garlic pieces and drizzle with olive oil. 

Once oven reaches 190◦C, place butternut in oven and set timer for 30 min. 

Turn after 15min and keep an eye on it from 15min onward – depending on the size of your butternut pieces and your oven, it might be cooked after 20min. 

Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside. 

Bring a large pot of water to the boil on your stovetop (using boiled water from a kettle speeds up the process). Place pasta in boiling water and cook according to packet instructions (8 – 12min depending on the pasta) 

While pasta is cooking, place all remaining spices in a pot on medium heat and dry roast spices for 3-5min to maximize flavour.  

Add roasted spices to the lentils & coconut cream pot and stir in, remove from heat. 

Place roasted butternut/onion/garlic in a blender. Add lentil mixture to blender and add 1 cup of vegetable broth OR 1 cup of plain water. Blend on high until smooth – it might be quite thick so help it with a spatula/wooden spoon as necessary. 

By now your pasta should be almost cooked – check texture and strain through colander once desired al dente is achieved. 

Place pasta back in the large pot and pour the mixture from your blender over the pasta. Place back on low heat. 

Add 1 cup of vegetable broth (or 1 cup of plain water) to the pasta and gently toss to work through.  

Add fresh baby spinach and work through. Leave on low heat for 5min to wilt the spinach, stirring occasionally to avoid it getting stuck to the bottom of the pot. If you would like it more saucy, add more water, ¼ cup at a time until desired sauciness is achieved. 

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds &/or toasted sesame seeds if desired, serve and enjoy! 

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