Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Now that the weather is getting chilly, it’s time to start baking dishes that will warm the heart and soul. I’d like to share a recipe involving one of my favorite flavors – butternut squash.

This winter squash has a buttery, sweet flavor that is also good for your health! It is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, which means this recipe could potentially improve your vision, skin, metabolism, and overall wellness! Use caution with this hyperbole, as the recipe is also filled with cheese, pasta, and butter. How could I possibly leave those ingredients out?!

Furthermore, I must discuss the fact that this is lasagna, which means you can have a HUGE helping of flavors in each serving. Often times, when I order butternut squash in a restaurant, it comes in ravioli form. I adore ravioli! It’s impossible not to love these surprise-filled pasta pockets. The disappointment here, however, is that restaurants just never give you enough. This problem is solved with an entire casserole at your fingertips!

No need to worry about this being too much food for my fellow single gals. This lasagna is easy to freeze and tastes just as wonderful when it is reheated. Just cut up the finished lasagna into individual servings and put in freezer bags. It’s incredibly easy to prepare and reheat!

Below is an adaptation of the butternut squash lasagna recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, a favorite Italian chef to both men and women…although for entirely different reasons. Bon Appetite!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Original recipe found at www.foodnetwork.com
Original recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 amaretti cookies (or similar), crumbled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
 
Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add squash, salt, and pepper.

Add water and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Cool slightly and put into a food processor.

Add cookies. I couldn't find amaretti cookies at the store I was at, but I did find crispy almond flavored cookies, which worked well. Blend thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a separate pan. Add flour. Whisk for 1 minute.

Whisk in milk. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer about 5 minutes (until sauce thickens).

Add nutmeg. Cool slightly. Add half of the sauce to a blender. 

Add basil and blend. 

Return basil sauce to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13x9 baking dish.

Layer: sauce, noodles, squash puree, cheese (repeat 3 layers)

Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes to create a golden top.