Thursday, February 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Oh, I really wanted to make something heart-shaped for Valentine's Day. I'm not exactly sure why that is, but I did. I tossed dozens of ideas around, but none of them seemed appropriate somehow. So finally I gave up on heart-shaped, and just went for yummy.

Make this lasagna for your sweetie, and they will be yours forever!

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Inspired by a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis

1 Medium Butternut Squash (about 2 lbs)
Olive Oil for Rubbing the Squash
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Flour
3 Cups Milk (2% or Whole)
1/2 Loosely Packed Fresh Basil Leaves
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese- depending on how cheesy you like it!
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
6 No-Bake Lasagna Noodles
Olive Oil or Butter for Greasing Baking Pan

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down in a baking dish, add 1/2 cup water, cover and bake until very tender, about 45-60 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the squash covered in the microwave until tender, about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, mash it up with a fork, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking for about one minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking the whole time to prevent lumps. Continue cooking over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking until thickened a bit, about 5 minutes. Whisk often to prevent lumps. Remove from heat.

Put the basil leaves in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to chop them up. Add about 1/2 of the sauce to the processor and process until the basil is well-incorporated. Return the basil-sauce to the rest of the sauce in the pan, and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 375

Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Pour about 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom. Cover the sauce with 2 of the lasagna noodles. Spread 1/2 of the squash over the noodles. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the squash. Repeat the layers : sauce, noodles, squash, mozzarella. Drizzle some sauce over this layer of mozzarella, cover with 2 more noodles, and pour the remaining sauce over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake until nice and bubbly and the noodles are soft, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven. Take off the foil and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven until the top is nicely browned, 10-15 minutes longer. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

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