In true across-the-pond and Ottolenghi form, this recipe delivers. First, the English love their 'cake', and the vegetable wizard knows just how to elevate expectations--and anticipation--around a purely savory meatless dish that is cake only in its round tin baked form that may be sliced into wedges. The directions are refreshingly easy considering the culinary rock star status of its creator. The hardest part is thinly slicing the squash ( if you have a mandoline, it takes all the difficulty out of this step). Filled with texture and intensely comforting and interesting flavors (the hallmarks you expect of an Ottolenghi recipe), it is also as divinely and equally satisfying as a hot meal for Sunday supper as it is served cold for picnic fare. Ottolenghi's recipe calls for the cake to be made in a tin, but we chose an oven-to-table pie plate for all in one cooking and serving.

cuisine Modern European
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 6 to 8


  • 9 ounces fresh lasagna sheets, torn into large pieces
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and sliced into very thin slices
  • 1 3/4 cups parmesan, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, coarsely grated and skins discarded
  • 6 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounces ricotta
  • 7 ounces feta, crumbled
  • Basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line the base and sides of a 9" cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. Put the first 12 ingredients in a large bowl with two tablespoons of the olive oil, 3/4 of the ricotta and feta, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, 50ml of cold water and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Tip the squash mix into the cake tin, pressing it down firmly to flatten it. 
  5. Top the cake with the remaining ricotta and feta, and cover it securely with foil.
  6. Bake for 1.5 hours. Remove the foil and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top of the cake. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the top is crisp and browned.
  7. Cool for 30 minutes before removing from the cake tin.
  8. Sprinkle with the basil (optional) and serve.