Dan here today. This story begins, as so many do, with me buying vast quantities of something on sale at the Sunflower. This time it was butternut squash for 27 cents a pound. Needless to say I came home with several armloads and had to figure out what to do with it. We stumbled upon a recipe in Cooking Light for this lasagna, and since I enjoy lasagna (although I hate Mondays … and Nermal), I figured I’d give it a try.
The good news: it was tasty with, as Beth remarked, a “complicated flavor profile.” The bad news: it was kind of a pain to make, although a large part of that was that the original recipe called for roasting the squash in two halves, then scooping the flesh out. What the recipe failed to mention was that the roasting time was not sufficient to tenderize the squash completely. As I result I wound up tenuously holding the still-hot squash in one oven-mitt covered hand while I hacked away at it with the other, trying to scrape the flesh into the food processor. Several times I tore the peel before I could separate the flesh from it, and I had to go back and pick little bits of peel off by hand. Then there were the times when, after applying great force to the squash to try to scoop it out, the flesh suddenly gave way and I succeeded in launching bits of squash at high velocity to the four corners of the kitchen. Even when I finally got it all into the food processor, there were still chunks of squash that didn’t get processed and made it intact into the filling. Needless to say I was a bit frustrated. I have modified the recipe based on my other experiences cooking squash to avoid this problem, and the adapted version is posted below:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 handful of sage leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cup marinara sauce (I used some left over from Beth’s pizza experiment)
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F
2. Cover the squash with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 12 minutes. Drain. For a smoother filling, put the squash through a potato ricer and then beat as if making mashed potatoes (this part can be skipped if desired).
3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer until onions have caramelized, about 40 minutes.
4. Pulse the squash, ricotta, nutmeg, eggs and Parmesan in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add the onions.
5. Assemble the lasagna in a 9 x 9 square casserole dish. (Note, you will probably need to break the ends of the lasagna noodles so that they will fit). Start with 1/2 cup marinara sauce, followed by 4 noodles, followed by 1 cup of butternut squash filling, followed by 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Then add another layer of sauce, 4 more noodles, another layer of filling, and another layer of mozzarella, followed by the walnuts. Top this with a third layer of sauce, the remaining noodles, the remaining filling, and a final layer of sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and add a final layer of mozzarella. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the lasagna to set before cutting.
Nutritionals: 291.2 cal, 11.8 g fat, 32.9 g carb, 4.4 g fiber, 14.1 g protein