Vegetable Pasta Bake

An vegetable lasagna dish from Yotam Ottolenghi
2 hours 45 minutes Total Time
30 minutes to prep
1 hour 45 minutes to cook
30 minutes to cool
6 servings

I first was alerted to this recipe via SmittenKitchen, but the original recipe is from the Yotam Ottolenghi, a popular cookbook author. My version is a bit different, trying to reduce the amount of ingredients and with less fat. The total time for this recipe is quite long, but the actual work is pretty quick. It is a one bowl recipe, just make sure it is very large bowl. 

I have made this many times with different pastas. I have had great success with Barilla's oven ready lasagna noodles and also gluten-free penne. The least successful experiments were regular curly lasagna noodles. However, the SmittenKitchen version uses those noodles with more water and a longer cooking time, so it is an option. 

This recipe is flexible. You can use different cheeses, herbs, etc to suit your tastes. It is an excellent choice when you need to be gluten-free because GF pastas are softer and will cook well in the dish. The SmittenKitchen version used a meltier cheese than feta, but I like the flavor feta brings. Sometimes I have shredded mozzarella that needs to be used up, so I will sub that for some feta. 

It is very important to slice the butternut squash thin. That is the most time consuming step of the entire recipe. A mandoline makes this easy. It will probably take a longer time to prep if you cut by hand, and if you can't get thin slices (around 1/8"), you may want to cook the dish longer. 

I think scallions add nice flavor to this, but I don't always have them on hand, and this will still taste good without them, so they are optional. 



  • Gather and prep ingredient. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" springform pan. You can use other pans if you don't have a springform, but the springform works well for serving.
    Step 0
  • Cut peeled butternut squash into very thin slices. 1/4" will be too thick, and 1/8" (or 3mm) is ideal. A mandoline makes job very easy and using cutting gloves instead of the provided protector makes it even easier.
    Step 1
  • If using lasagna noodles instead of pasta, break the noodles up into pieces. I like to try for 2" squares, but precision is not important here.
    Step 2
  • Mix ricotta cheese, egg, water, scallions, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme in the largest bowl you have.
    Step 3
  • Add Parmesan cheese and feta cheese to wet mixture and stir thoroughly. Sometimes I save a little of the feta to sprinkle on top, but that is not necessary.
    Step 4
  • Add pasta, spinach and butternut squash to mixture and stir completely so the squash and pasta gets coated with the mixture as well as possible. This stirring should take a few minutes and try to separate butternut squash slices as much as possible.
    Step 5
  • Pour into the pan and press down so it all fits. It is a lumpy mixutre so pressing helps make it more uniform. Try to press it below the top edge everywhere, otherwise sharp pasta corners could cut the foil when you cover it in next step. I didn't do a great job in this series of photos, and the top was more dry than normal.
    Step 6
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake in oven for 90 minutes. After 90 minute remove the foil check the tenderness of squash and pasta. If there is still some resistance, recover and cook longer. When tender, remove the foil and return to oven. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the top starts to brown.
    Step 7
  • Let cool for 30 minutes. This will help solidify the dish. Serve. Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen and will be as good as fresh out of the oven.
    Step 8

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