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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

We have been hit with a ton of snow lately which has made snowshoeing really beautiful. Last weekend after a morning snowshoeing followed by hot chocolate at a local cafe with friends, I went home to make this lasagna. One of my favourite lasagna's is a roasted veggie lasagna which I usually make once or twice a year. This year I wanted to try something a bit different. My father had given me a butternut squash this summer which I cut into chunks and froze. I did not want to make anymore squash soup and thought it would be perfect in a a lasagna. I'd have to say this recipe is a combination of a few recipes, but largely adapted from Cooking Light. All the flavors blend so well together. Each bit you get the creamy texture of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by the juiciness of the sauteed spinach and roasted butternut, ending with a hint of spice from the nutmeg.

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna
3 cups chopped onion
10 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 (15oz) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (15oz) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
3 cups diced peeled butternut squash
6 cups Marinara Sauce (Recipe Below)
12 whole wheat oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese for the top or freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 1 1/2 minutes or until spinach wilts.
Combine 3/4 cup of mozzarella, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs, and ricotta cheeses and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high 5 minutes or until tender. Or roast in the oven for 25 min at 425F.
Coat the bottom and sides of a 8x8 or 10x10 baking dishes with cooking spray.
First Layer:
Spread 1/2 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of one prepared dish.
Arrange 4-5 noodles over sauce.
Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over noodles.
Arrange 1/2 squash over cheese mixture.
Spread 1/2 spinach and onoing mixture
Spread 1 cup Marinara sauce over squash.

Second Layer:
Arrange 4 more noodles over sauce.
Spread the other 1/2 of cheese mixture over the noodles.
Spread remaining squash.
Arrange the rest of the onion and spinach mixture over squash.
Spread 1 cup sauce over onion and spinach mixture.

Third Layer:
Arrange 4 noodles over sauce.
Spread 1 cup Marinara evenly over noodles.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Cover pan with foil and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.
To freeze unbaked lasagna: Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked lasagna: Thaw completely in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil and plastic wrap. Cover lasagna with foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Marinara Sauce
(adapted from CookingLight)

3 T olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion
1 T sugar
3 T minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 tsp red chili flakes
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds and chili flakes); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

Ricotta Cheese Layer

Spinach and Onion Mixture

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Anonymous said...

A delicious lasagna with butternut squash!

Lo said...

Can't argue with that! It looks wonderful. Lasagne is such great winter comfort food.

LOVE it that you snowshoe. What a wonderful winter pastime!

Bellini Valli said...

I so look forward to recipes using squash. I love it's nutty flavour and texture and it would be delicious here.

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