From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
675 g butternut squash
2 tblsp olive oil
25 g butter
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
100 g rindless pancetta (cut into lardons)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 red onion (finely diced)
175 g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
100 ml vegetable stock
250 g tub mascarpone cheese
50 g freshly grated parmesan
275 g penne pasta
50 g toasted pine nuts
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lightly dressed rocket salad and crusty bread, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Peel the butternut squash, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds; discard. Place half of the olive oil and the butter in a roasting tin. Place in the oven for a few minutes to heat up. Cut the butternut squash into bite-sized chunks and then toss them into the heated oil and butter mixture. Add the rosemary and roast for 20 minutes or until just cooked through. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta. Cook for 5 minutes until crisp and lightly golden, then add garlic, onion and mushrooms and cook for another 5minutes until the mushrooms are tender, stirring regularly. Stir in the stock, mascarpone cheese and Parmesan and simmer very gently for 5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pan of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes until al dente or according to packet instructions. Drain and then quickly refresh under cold running water. Return to the pan and stir in the mascarpone sauce, then carefully fold in the roasted butternut squash and pine nuts. Divide among warmed wide rimmed bowls and scatter over the basil. Serve at once with a separate bowl of salad and some crusty bread.