La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagne

When I take to the road in the car, all of twice a week,  I have noticed since moving back to Belgium, that from August onwards every blummin' house  has pumpkins lying near the front door as decoration.  It makes me want to scream !!!  It was never a tradition before I left, 15 years ago.  Most people didn't even know what a pumpkin looked like and only just a few might have made soup out of them once in a blue moon. What has happened ?
I agree that pumpkins can make a great display, but it's not special and it just looks daft and tacky when everyone is doing it.  Never seen anywhere with a bunch of leeks in a decorative fashion beside a front door.
They are first and foremost food, people ! And not just for soups. Don't just waste them on a decorative display that you have to throw in the bin in a month's time.  Yes, in a month's time, because they have been harvested too early and therefore won't keep that long.

I'm feeling better already for getting that of my chest.  Pffft.

Let's tuck into the butternut squash,  just harvested.  Only had 8 sheets of lasagna left in the box, so why not use them for this recipe.

ingredients  this one I prepared for Bert and myself and there were no leftovers - for once.

  • 1 butternut squash,
  • 3 onions
  • a couple of garlic cloves
  • 1 chilli
  • a bunch of fresh sage leaves
  • pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • olive oil
  • course sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • parmesan cheese - freshly grated
  • 8 sheets of lasagna


  • Preheat oven to 250°c
  • Cut the butternut squash in half, length ways, scoop out and disgard the seeds.  Cut roughly in chuncks of a similar size.  No need for taking the peel off as it will go tender.
  • Spread out on a baking tray.
  • Peel and chop the onions, in same size chunks.  Add them to the squash.
  • Throw in some cloves of garlic, unpeeled, they will steam in their peel and you can squeeze them out over the vegetables when they are ready to be served.
  • Finely chop chilli, a few of the sage leaves and sprinkle over the squash and onion.
  • Just  drizzle with olive oil and throw over some sea salt.

  • Put it in the hot oven for around 20 to 30 minutes.  You need to spread the vegetables out and see to it that they are not on top of  each other, or they will steam instead of roast.
  • They will be ready when you can easily stick a sharp knife through the squash. You don't want them too soft, they shouldn't fall apart. They should also have a light brown colour on at least one or two sides.
  • In the meantime bring some salted water to the boil and cook the pasta al dente.
  • In a small pan, heat some olive oil  and fry the other sage leaves.  Scoop out and drain on kitchen paper.  The crisping of the sage goes very quickly, so no distractions, please.

  • When the oil has cooled of a little it can be poured in with the drained lasagna sheets, it'll give extra flavour and a nice shine.

  • Put a lasagne sheet on a plate, then a serving spoon of roasted squash, a sprinkle of  parmesan.  Repeat until you have used up your ingredients. End with some squash, black pepper, parmesan, toasted pumpkin seeds  and not forgetting the fried sage.

Link naar recept in het nederlands


  1. Pumpkins ... it's like Halloween. Until a few years ago, Halloween was something from across the ocean. Now it's all over our low lands, too. In some families it has become almost as important as Sinterklaas! Can you believe it?! It's not even in our history.

  2. Mmmm, yes Halloween. I wish people would search for the real meaning of Halloween and not the commercial one.
    Funnily enough it origins lie in Europe and is supposed to be the New Year's Eve in the Celtic calendar. Also on the 31st October Celts (Pagans) would honour the dead. Halloween comes from 'All Hallows', meaning all gosts (what we in Belgium now know as allerheiligen and allerzielen)
    People in Ireland par ex. used to hollow out turnips as Jack-o-Lanterns, long before the pumpkins where used in America by settlers and consequently brought over from America.
    So I suppose Halloween has finally made it's way back to Europe, eh.

  3. I don't know for the rest of Europe but Halloween sure has made it's way to Belgium. That is, the commerce around it. I, personally, prefer to stick with our own original holidays/remembrance days.

  4. I used to go the whole hog for Halloween when I lived in the US, but I hated it! I'm so glad we live down a quiet lane and don't get bothered here.

    The lasagne looks really good, I am a butternut squash lover, having discovered it in the last few years, and sage is the perfect herb to accompany it! Lovely photos.

  5. Aw,thanks Nic. I have to confess, I used to make displays with pumpkins, eons ago, but I also cooked with them.
    Oooh yes, sage and butternut squash is as good as chilli and chocolate (and I am being serious, here)


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