The roasted butternut squash adds a wonderful zap to this pasta gratin, while the mascarpone cheese helps to keep everything really moist. There's this on going debate about which pasta is better - fresh or dried, and I can honestly say that I think dried is best in most recipes. It uses hard durum wheat, which when cooked gives that lovely 'bite' that we talk about when cooking pasta.


  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 25 g butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 red onion (sliced)
  • 175 g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
  • 275 g penne pasta
  • 250 g tub mascarpone cheese (you could use yoghurt)
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lightly dressed fresh green salad, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/Gas 6). Place the oil and butter in a large roasting tin and heat for 3-4 minutes in the oven until the butter has melted.
  • Peel the butternut squash and then cut in half and remove seeds; discard. Cut flesh into bite-sized chunks and then tip them into the heated butter and oil, tossing to coat. Season to taste and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the rosemary, onion and mushrooms until well combined and roast for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and just beginning to char.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or according to packet instructions until ‘al dente’.
  • Remove the roasting tin from the oven and stir in two tablespoons of water, then stir in the mascarpone cheese. Drain the pasta and tip into the roasting tin, stirring to combine. Season to taste. Transfer to a buttered ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the Parmesan. Bake for another 10 minutes until bubbling and lightly golden.
  • To serve, sprinkle the parsley over the butternut squash and pasta bake and place directly on the table, allowing people to help themselves on to warmed serving plates. Put the salad in a separate bowl on the table