Sunday, November 22, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasagna



I came across this recipe on a blog I started following in a roundabout way, alizarine.typepad.com (an art teacher who also loves to play with food).  The lasagna is a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, probably my favorite Food Network chef.  I don't recommend attempting this if you get home from work at 6:30 like me, because you won't be eating until around 9:00.  I do recommend making sure you have milk when you start the cooking, that will save you some time and a trip to the store for milk (thank you Maverick).  I also recommend that you don't scald the milk; that too will save you some time because you won't have to make the sauce twice.  With that said, it was soooo worth the wait in my opinion.  However, I had to cook Matt's chicken before the lasagna was done becuase he couldn't wait.  We both agree it's definitely "a keeper"!


Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used a 3 lb squash and it was perfect)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled (a tip from alizarine.typepad.com, I used Pepperidge Farms gingerbread men)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Directions:
Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. (I just mashed it up in the skillet with the back of a wooden spoon) Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender (keep one side of the lid popped to vent to prevent the suction that can cause "heat explosion") . Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna (this was Matt's job:). Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!!!! (hopefully before 9:00 pm :)

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