Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spinach and Butternut Squash Lasagna


I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog to Squished Butternut Squash, since I seem to use it in everything these days! This went over pretty well with some friends we had over for dinner the other night, except my friend Wendy, who picked all of her squash out and then switched plates with Danielle to make it look like she was the culprit. Apparently, Graham and his friend, Luke, were not the only children I was cooking for that evening. I thought the squash added a nice, creamy sweetness especially with the tangy quick tomato sauce. As with lots of things, it was even better the next day, and the photo is of the lone left-over piece, hence what looks like a pile of noodles and cheese rather than a lovely layered lasagna.

12 lasagna noodles, cooked to package directions
olive oil
tomato sauce (recipe below), or two jars store bought
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess moisture
2 (maybe 2 1/2 cups ricotta)
1 egg
1 butternut squash, diced and softened (below)
1 cup shredded mozarella
1 cup of shredded parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

While the noodles and other components are cooking, mix the spinach, ricotta, mozarella, egg and salt and pepper in a bowl.

For the sauce:
olive oil
2 cups diced onions
4-5 cloves garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add wine and cook down bit more. Add tomatoes and seasonings and let simmer for 20 minutes or until you're ready for it.

For the squash:
Add cubed and peeled squash to about 1/2 cup onions that have been softened in olive oil. Add a little salt and let the squash sort of caramelize for a few minutes. Add enough broth to almost cover. Cover the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally until the squash is nice and tender. Almost mushy.

Put a big dallop of sauce in the bottom of an oiled 9x13 pan. Place 4 noodles in the bottom. Top those with sauce. Spread half of the spinach/ricotta mixture and then all of the butternut squash on top of that. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, then the rest of the spinach/cheese mixture. Place the remaining 4 noodles on top and add the rest of the sauce (I actually had about a cup left over) and parmesan cheese on top of that. Cover and bake the whole thing in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes til its all bubbly and delicious. Remove the foil and let the cheese brown on top for a minute, then take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Otherwise you will have liquid cheese and a big mess everywhere. Not that it wouldn't taste just as good...it will just look more like that photo.



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