Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't hold the cheese on Butternut Squash Lasagna

OK, so I guess I lied about never making lasagna again. As a matter of fact, it was probably typing my reference to lasagna that got me thinking it was high time I make some, although I'm not sure what it was that convinced me I didn't need a recipe.

Actually, when I told Bryan that was my plan, he seemed a little hesitant, so I decided to at least loosely base my dish on a recipe Mom shared with me a year or two ago: Lasagna of Roasted Butternut Squash from Michael Chiarello on the Food Network. Not that she really follows the recipe, either, but it's a base. Hey, I learn from the best!

When Mom makes hers, it's much more butternut squashy, but holding back on the cheese is not something I do as gladly. Here was the rendition I made yesterday:

Butternut Squash Lasagna
2-lb. package cubed butternut squash (or you can cut up a whole one yourself if you're as crazy as Mom)
1/4 c. plus 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 T. chopped fresh sage leaves, divided
2 t. Toasted Spice Rub
2 t. kosher salt, divided
1 t. freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 oz. goat cheese
1 lb. fresh lasagna noodles
4 c. milk
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4. c. flour
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix butternut squash, 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. sage, toasted spice rub, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper in a pan big enough that squash can roast in a single layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until soft, stirring once or twice.

Let cool for 15-20 minutes, then pulse in a food processor with the goat cheese until cheese is melted and no squash chunks remain. Set aside.

Heat milk to nearly boiling on the stove top or in the microwave. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 c. olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and sage for the last minute, then add flour and blend with a whisk for about 2 minutes. Add heated milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Turn heat to medium low but continue simmering and stirring for about 5 minutes, until sauce is thick. Stir in 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper, cover and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray. Thinly coat pan with 1-2 ladels of bechamel sauce, then cover with a layer cooked noodles. Spread 1/3 of the squash-goat cheese mix, 1/4 of the mozzarella, 1/4 of the Parmesan, then another 1-2 ladels of bechamel sauce. Continue for two more layers, then top with a layer of noodles, the last of the mozzarella, the last of the Parmesan and the last of the bechamel sauce.

Cover with foil and cook for an hour. Remove foil and cook for 15 more minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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