Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Butternut Squash Lasagna | Everyday Italian

Sweet Jebus, this is some DAMN GOOD LASAGNA. If I wasn't already screaming down the superhighway toward vegetarianism this lasagna would have put petal to the metal on that cause. It is that good people.

My immediate family came to my house for Thanksgiving, I was in charge of the bird (dear God was that hard for me to clean and handle), the stuffing and the aforementioned Pumpkin Pecan Pie; everyone else brought side dishes. My dad brought these amazing mashed potatoes with caramelized leeks and cream cheese (hello THUNDER THIGHS), my Nana brought homemade biscuits, cornbread and candied carrots, my sister made the most amazing homemade cranberry sauce, and apple pie, and my mom brought enough baked butternut squash to choke a horse. The squash was the only leftover that I wanted to transform into something else and I'd heard Giada talk about this recipe on the copious amounts of Thanksgiving segments that the Today show did between Halloween and T-day, so I looked in my cookbook arsenal and there it was in the Giada's Family Dinner book.

Now. I did have a few minor changes from her recipe, the first of which was that she calls for the butternut squash to be cooked in water on the stove top, mine had already been roasted in the oven, so I just pureed the baked squash that I had left over. Second, her recipe calls for three amaretti cookies to be pureed with the squash. I did not have amaretti cookies so I threw in a hand full of cinnamon teddy grahams and added a splash of Amaretto liquor to the squash. Personally, I think my substitutions made the recipe better.

Here is the original recipe from Giada's Book
Butternut Squash Lasagna
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Rating = So God Damn Good

1 comment:

Patricia Scarpin said...

It sounds very interesting, JB - love the addition of veggies to pasta. I also like your substitutions very much.