Sunday, March 2, 2014

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna (Vegetarian)

My husband and I both enjoy meat, and all things hearty, however neither of us are great fans of lasagna. I decided to try this recipe by Martha Stewart, to see if it was possible to change my mind about this unusual, layered thing.

Like butternut squash ravioli, this is rich and satisfying--a real treat! Even if I don't prefer regular lasagna, I can be a proud promoter of this spin-off.

- 3 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces 
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
-Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
-1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese 
-1/2 cup heavy cream 
-2 large egg yolks 
-1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1.5 cups-ish) 
-Freshly grated nutmeg 
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
-1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped 
-1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock 
- 1 pound of lasagna noodles, cooked
-4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 425F. First, cut and peel the squash. The easiest way is to cut off the straight part from the round part, peel each section individually, and then half the round section, scrape out the goop, and dice everything all up. 

The orange squash is from my garden this summer! Look at the difference in color between it and a store-bought one. Mine also has a very delightful fragrance. The contrast was so distinct in every way.

Scatter the squash onto a foil-covered baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and mix it all around with your hands so it's fully coated. Bake until golden brown and soft--20-25 minutes.

In the meantime, cook your pasta minus 2 minutes of the cooking time (so that it doesn't get mushy in the oven). Toss in cold water, and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cream, egg yolks, mozzarella, and a dash of nutmeg. Set aside. 

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and chop sage, and toss into the butter. Let cook until fragrant and slightly browned. 

When the squash is done, scrape into a bowl with the stock and the sage and butter mixture. Mash it halfway with the back of a spoon, leaving some chunks. Just make sure that it's not watery, but creamy. 

Set the oven to 375F. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture into the bottom. 

Lay one layer of noodles (4 slightly overlapping) over this. Spread half the squash mixture. Add another layer of noodles.

 Repeat with half the remaining ricotta, then noodles, the last of the squash, the last of the noodles, then ricotta. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan. 

Bake about 30 minutes until browned. Cool for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Serve!


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