Monday, August 23, 2010


Driving down our beach town roads, I saw trees already changing color while the wind howled all around. The surf is WAY UP, the clouds have settled in and I think I might even be sad as summer nears its has been a great one.

I am hoping for some clearing and the skies to once again give way to magnificent sunshine...they say by Thursday.....

But for today, I need to blog something WARM and I cannot believe I have forgotten this gem until now. I have blogged my butternut squash tortellini, but never the lasagna. This is a great side dish or main course as a vegetarian option.

Preparing the squash/ingredients: (preheat oven to 400 degrees)
2 large butternut squash
3 tbl olive oil
1 tbl chopped fresh sage
3 tbl fennel seed, ground in a spice grinder or mortar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Using a peeler, remove the squash shell. Trim top and bottom and cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Coarsely chop the squash into 1/2 in cubes. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss squash cubes with oil, sage and spices (above). Spread the squash on a single layer on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until browning. Stir the mixture once or twice. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool a bit.

Puree the squash in a food processor then mix with:
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook lasagna sheets (about 24 sheets..I always cook a few more in case they break). Drain the sheets and spread them on wax paper or baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil on them.

Preparing the sauce/ingredients:
2 quarts whole milk
6 tbl unsalted butter
1 tbl minced fresh sage
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg

In a large saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat. Melt the butter in a pot or microwave. Add the sage and garlic to the butter then add flour and stir. Add 3 cups of the warm milk to the flour and whisk to remove any flour-lumps. Bring to a boil and whisk continuously while adding the rest of the milk. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Adjust the heat and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes (I seem to need to cook this longer to thicken so don't worry about timing). You will want the sauce to be like a gravy and stick to the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Other ingredients:
1-1/2 lb grated mozzarella
2 cups fresh grated parmesan
4 tbl butter

ASSEMBLY: (preheat oven to 375 degrees)

Grease a 13 X 9 pan with butter. Spoon the sauce into the bottom of the pan and coast the whole thing. Add a single layer of lasagna noddles. Spread some squash mixture over the lasagna noddles making sure you get and even spread over whole pan. Sprinkle this with a layer of mozzarella/parmesan cheese. Repeat this until you reach about 1/4 inch from the top of the pan. Finish with cheese and sauce on top. Bake on center rack for one hour with tin foil on the top of the pan. Remove the foil and dot the top with about 4 tbl of butter cut into small chunks. Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes longer until it starts to get brown and is bubbling. Let it rest before serving for about 10 minutes.

So rich and creamy


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