Monday, December 3, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

A few years ago we were invited over to a friend's apartment for dinner. Now, I'm not sure about you, but I get both very excited and a little nervous at these invitations. A home cooked meal that I don't need to cook myself - score! Although, what exactly does that mean is on the menu - chopped liver? sweetbreads? pig's feet? You just never know.

Thankfully, this friend is a wonderful cook and every time we've been over for one of her home cooked meals, whether it be an introduction to something new, or falling in the already familiar category, we're always itching for second helpings. This time was no different.

Seasonally, on this very occasion, the main course was a welcomed introduction to Butternut Squash Lasagna. And, after providing the hosts with plentiful vino to compliment the meal, she obliged in giving me her recipe. Mind you, I am notorious for not following recipes, as I always seem to have to add my own special touch. So, here is my recipe:

1 Butternut Squash *
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Cup of Milk (fat free is fine)
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Lasagna Noodles (8 sheets)
2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt, to taste

* You can buy it already peeled, seeded, and cubed, or use your muscle to do it yourself. I've done both, and the former is much easier than the latter, without difference in taste.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a saucepan atop the stove, combine the milk, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil.
Add the peeled, cored, and cut squash and about 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cover the squash and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water to a rolling boil, add some salt (about 1/2 Tablespoon), and cook the lasagna noodles for about 10-15 minutes.
Once the pasta has cooked, run it under cool water so the noodles don't stick to one another and it will be easier to the touch when you start layering your lasagna.
Once the squash is tender, remove the lid and begin to mash up the squash with a spoon to form a puree.
Begin the first lasagna layer by placing four sheets of noodles in a lightly sprayed oven-safe dish.  I use a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.
Spread half of the butternut squash puree over the noodles.
Top with 1 cup of Mozzarella Cheese.

Top with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Repeat layering of the noodles, squash mixture, and cheeses.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbly and melted.
Let cool and serve. Yum...
Yields 12 squares.