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Struggle to get excited by pasta? Try our new midweek Speedy Supper dish - you'll be wowed by these delicious diddy pasta balls.

Attention, spag bol specialists! We’ve got a new Speedy Supper pasta dish for you that’ll fill you with wonder and excitement rather than bore you to death come 6pm. It comes courtesy of the talented Fiona Cullinane, chef at The Yurt Café at Nicholsons, near Bicester in Oxfordshire. Not familiar? Get thee to the village of North Aston in North Oxon pronto. There you will find this rustic-chic tented foodie destination, featuring Fiona’s creations.

Anyway, who’s hungry? May we present Fiona’s roast squash, fregola and spinach with feta. Er, YUM! Fregola is a Sardinian pasta which consists of tiny balls (giant cous cous is similar) – find it in your local Italian deli or on Amazon. It’s not the cheapest carb around but it’s nice to have a change, no?

OK, feed us, Fiona…


Roast squash, fregola & spinach with feta (serves 2)

  • Half a butternut squash
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tin whole tomatoes
  • 150g fregola pasta
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste, to taste
  • Handful of black olives, stoned
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to finish
  • 40g spinach/chard leaves
  • 40g feta



Peel, deseed and chop the squash into 2cm pieces. Put on to a tray with the red onion wedges,  salt, pepper and 2 tbsp of the olive oil and rosemary. Toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes on 200 /fan 180 or until it’s golden brown.

While that’s roasting, heat the rest of the oil in a large pan. Drain the tomatoes then add then to the pan, let it simmer on a moderate heat for around 5 mins.

Put a large pan of water on to boil and add a little salt. Add the fregola and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, keeping a little of the cooking liquid.

Stir the harissa paste into the tomatoes and season with a little salt.

Add the fregola and squash to the tomato sauce and toss, add the spinach and allow to wilt. Crumble over the feta and serve.

The Yurt at Nicholsons

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