Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

A few things you must know before you begin reading through the recipe. This recipe does not fall into the quick or easy categories. It will dirty every dish you own. But I consider it worth every minute and every dirty dish. I put the kids to bed Saturday night, turned on a movie, and went to town. It was a fun cooking adventure. I had never cooked with butternut squash before- delicious! It was very aromatic preparation... butternut squash roasting in the oven, fresh chopped sage, freshly grated nutmeg... the house smelled heavenly. So this is probably more of a special occasion dish, for someone you love a whole lot. Chris loved it. And Maren said she thought it was better than the butternut squash ravioli at Wildflower Bread Co. Try it sometime this fall- and thank us later.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna
(adapted from a Michael Chiarello recipe)

For the squash:
2 large butternut squash, about 3-5 pounds
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 C. ricotta cheese (1 15-oz. container)
1 C. grated Parmesan
2 large eggs

1 pound lasagna sheets
extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce:
2 quarts whole milk
6 T. unsalted butter
1 T. sage, minced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

To assemble the lasagna:

Butter for dish
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1 C. grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the squash's hard shell. Trim 1/2 inch off the top and bottom ends. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and coarsely chop the squash into 1/2 inch chunks. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, toss squash ith oil, sage, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper. Spread squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast squash in the oven until very soft and beginning to brown, 45- 50 minutes, stirring once. Remove the squash from the oven and puree in a food processor with fresh nutmeg.

In a large bowl, mix squash puree, ricotta, parmesan, eggs, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover and refrigerate the mix til ready to use.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook lasagna noodles til al dente. Drain the sheets and spread them on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and set aside.

Prepare the sauce: In a large saucepan, bring milk to a slow simmer over medium heat. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage and garlic to the butter, cook for 30 seconds, add the flour and stir. Add 3 cups of the milk, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, while whisking continuously. Add the remaining milk and whisk again. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Adjust heat to low to maintain a slow simmer, and cook til sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Make about 8 cups.

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9 by 13 baking dish. (I made one 9 by 13 pan and one small pan.) Spoon a ladle of sauce into sish and spread to coat the bottom. Place a single layer of lasagna sheets on top of the sauce. Spread some squash mixture evenly over the lasagna sheets and sprinkle mozzarella cheese and a couple Tablespoons parmesan on top. Repeat til all ingredients are used, starting with 2-3 ladles of sauce for each layer. Keep building til the pan is full to about 1/4 inch from top. Finish with cheese and sauce directly over the noodles. Cover with tin foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour. Remove foil and continue cooking for 15 minutes til golden brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Serves 8-10
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