Then it happened so unexpectedly, as these things often do. I attended an art auction and one of the items being served was none other than...drum roll please...a butternut squash lasagna. What?!?! A butternut squash dish that I was going to be able to sample before I went out and bought it. Well.....I tried it....... and Loved it. Two of my girlfriends were with me and they also enjoyed it. It had a lovely rich, sweet taste to it and the sauce was nice and creamy. I immediately knew this was the dish I was going to make at home. And of course I was eager for Mr. Foodie to taste the dish since he was unable to attend the auction.
I went home to scour the Internet along with a few cookbooks and came up with a very comparable recipe to which I could recreate the lasagna. And of course it was hit. Mr. Foodie loved it and was impressed as this winter vegetable was new to his palate as well
Even more recently, a few girlfriends and I threw a dinner party for one of our friends who just completed her doctoral degree. Go Tyfftyff!!!! Since most of the girls in attendance are vegetarian (there's one vegan so she couldn't sample the lasagna) I chose to wow them with the butternut squash lasagna. They too enjoyed the dish.
Now it' not as simple as the roasted shrimp and broccoli dish , but it's not hard and totally worth the time. Take it to a dinner party, potluck or just dinner to last your family a few days. The leftovers heat up very well. I know this post is late in the season so you better hurry up and make it. It's almost time for the summer squash recipes.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
for the filling:
1 medium sized butternut squash (or the one pound bag, already diced, you can get from Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of freshly minced sage
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup of ricotta cheese
½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If using fresh squash, cut into 1-inch pieces. To cut squash, peel the skin using a vegetable peeler. Beware, the squash will leave you hands with a very sticky residue which is difficult to wash off (I carefully wear gloves when I cut the squash). After peeling the squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Then cut the halves into 1-inch pieces.
Toss the squash in a bowl with the olive oil, sage, cinnamon, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread the squash on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, until the squash is cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. Lower oven to 375 degrees.
When squash has cooled, place the squash in a food processor or blender. Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg and mix all ingredients.
For the sauce:
3 cups of milk
3 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of finely chopped sage
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
In a microwave proof bowl, warm the milk.
In a separate saucepan, melt the butter of medium heat. As the butter begins to melt, add the garlic and sage and let cook for two minutes. Slowly whisk in the flour, making a roux. Whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, until the smell of flour disappears.
Lightly butter a 9x13 casserole dish. Ladle enough sauce to make a thin layer on the bottom of the casserole pan. Cover the sauce with noodles. You may have to break some noodles to fit. Use a spatula to layer the squash mixture on the noodles, then ladle some sauce on the squash mixture and top with a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until you near the top of your casserole pan or are finished with ingredients. On top of your last layer of noodles, finish with the remaining sauce and top off with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Begin adding warm milk to the roux 1 cup at a time. Whisk continuously as the sauce begins to thicken and bubble. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg to the sauce.
8 ounces no boil lasagna noodles
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
Make sure oven has been lowered to 375 degrees
Cover the pan with aluminum foil. A great tip is to spray the inside of the foil paper with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place dish in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the top of the lasagna is lightly browned.