Friday, November 11, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna


I've been wanting to make a lasagna for a couple of weeks but just haven't had the time, so when I suddenly found myself with Friday off, I decided to give Martha Stewart's veggie version a try. Pretty straightforward but a little time-consuming so probably not great for a normal weekday night dinner. I began by roasting up a big tray of cubed butternut squash, which got the house smelling amazing right from the start. While that cooled, I mixed up the ricotta/milk/cheese mixture and then mashed up the cooled squash. This is where I misunderstood Martha's directions and left half of the cubed squash on the baking tray, which is where they stayed even as I put the lasagna in the oven. What I now realize is that (needless to say, I didn't read the directions carefully enough) all the squash goes into the bowl, but you only mash half of it, and leave some in chunks for texture in the final dish. Duh, me. So our version will be smoother than called for but I'm pretty sure we'll all survive and quite honestly, I'm happy to have the leftover cubes waiting for me to nibble on at lunch tomorrow anyway. All was not lost.
Anyway, if you want a truly veggie version, substitute veg stock for the chicken stock, and you'll be good to go. Otherwise, toss the squash with the crispy sage (sauteed for a couple of minutes in butter in a saute pan) and stock and then start layering with the noodles. Nice fall meal alongside a fresh salad.

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna
serves 4
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (or substitute milk or half-and-half)
1 large egg yolk
1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated
fresh nutmeg
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock
fresh lasagna noodles, cooked, or dried noodles, cooked
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a baking tray, toss cubed squash with the olive oil and some salt and pepper and roast until light gold and tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine ricotta, cream, egg yolk and mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt.

Melt butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add sage, and cook until light gold and crisp at edges, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Place squash in a medium bowl and mash 1/2 of it with the back of a wooden spoon, leaving the other 1/2 in whole pieces. Gently stir in the sage-butter and stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture in a baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/2 of the butternut squash mixture over noodles. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles. Repeat layering once more (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta). Sprinkle parmesan over ricotta mixture.

Place baking dish on rimmed baking tray and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Rest of the week

Nov 9 Worked late and skipped dinner
Nov 10 Drinks and nibbles at Keg before BCC party
Nov 11 Butternut squash lasagna and salad

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