Sunday, November 09, 2008
Savory Butternut Squash Lasagna
I recently made a delicious baked squash gratin by Giada DiLaurentiis that I haven't made since last year. It is layers of butternut squash, basil pesto and grated cheese. In my opinion it takes butternut squash to a whole new dimension. Giada also makes a Butternut Squash Lasagna with similar flavors. It was the inspiration for my Savory Butternut Squash Lasagna. I made mine low-fat and it was absolutely delicious. So I can imagine what the full fat version would taste like. This would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, or even the main entree if you are a vegetarian.Savory Butternut Squash Lasagna (Reduced Fat)
by Mixed Salad Annie
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes
1 large leek, halved lengthwise, sliced, washed and dried or large onion halved and sliced, both are optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free or reduced-fat ricotta, I recommend Calabro brand which is all natural and contains nothing but cheese and starters
1/4 teaspoon, plus a pinch nutmeg, divided
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed with the back of your knife
1/4 cup butter, don't substitute here it really makes the whole dish work!
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups fat-free creamer or skim milk
1/3 cup pesto sauce
14 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Italian four cheese blend or mozzarella cheese
1 1/4 cups cup grated Parmesan
Preheat to 375 degrees F. and adjust the rack to the center of the oven.
Toss leeks, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl. Place leeks on a foil lined bake sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until softened and lightly browned, stirring half way through. Set aside.
Set a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with a small amount of water making sure not to touch the bottom of the basket. Add the squash and steam over medium high heat until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes*. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and ricotta cheese. Transfer the squash mixture to a food processor (let cool slightly) and blend until smooth and creamy or use a hand held blender and blend right in the same pan.
Add the butter and garlic to a large saucepan over low heat. Cook for about 3 minutes until garlic is very fragrant. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the creamer/milk, turn the heat up to medium/high and continue whisking until smooth and mixture comes to a boil. Continue whisking, reduce the heat to medium/low and allow the sauce to simmer and slightly thicken, about 5 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper and pinch of nutmeg. Strain out garlic and set aside.
Spray a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place 3 1/2 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash mixture over the lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of the pesto over the squash mixture and sprinkle 1/3 of the leeks over the top. Add 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the top and arrange the next layer of noodles. Add another 1/3 of the squash mixture, 1/3 of the pesto, 1/3 of the leeks and 1/4 of each cheese. Add 1/2 cup of the sauce over the top of the noodles and repeat layering 1 more time. Top the last layer of noodles with the remaining sauce, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and 1/2 cup of parmesan.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the sauce bubbles and the top is browned, about 15-20 minutes longer. Let the lasagna rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.
*You could also roast the butternut squash along with the leeks/onions, just add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a bit more sea salt and pepper and bake; mix a few times until soft and light brown, approx. 45 minutes.