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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna

My favorite time of year is autumn, I love the smell of the crisp fresh air and the wood burning stoves. I love the color of the changing leaves. In fact I was really happy to get out for a long 20km hike in the Adirondacks last weekend to enjoy the changing of the leaves. But most of all I love the bounty autumn offers. I think my favorite of all the great produce of fall is the squash. There are so many types of squash and they are colorful and very versatile – you can use them in pies, soups, stews, pastas, and/or side dishes such as salads or risottos.

My father provided me with yet another large butternut squash from his garden. I made butternut squash and spinach lasagna last year and was excited to make another one but wanted to change it up a bit. This time I used provolone cheese instead of mozzarella and enjoyed its stronger taste and how it did not melt as much as mozzarella does and rather crisped up a bit.

In this dish the butternut squash is pureed rather than left in chucks. I have no preference over either method in terms of texture they are both good, but the pureed form made putting the lasagna together and serving it much easier as it kept its form better when cut. The recipe also has other changes such as kale vs. spinach and a few different spices. Overall both recipes are highly recommended and make a great week night vegetarian meal.

This recipe was adapted from two different lasagna recipes from cooking light.

Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna

Cooking spray or olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves peeled (1 whole and 2 minced)
1 lbs fresh kale
6 round slices sharp provolone cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 (30-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
6 cups diced peeled butternut squash cut into ½” cubes

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large saucepan add the olive oil and heat over med-high heat. Add onion and whole garlic, cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

While sauce is cooking, in a large baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add minced garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to unsure the squash is well coat with the oil. Bake until soft about 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and purée until smooth.

Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.

In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, eggs, parsley and salt and pepper.
In a 10x10 baking dish put the lasagna together.

First Layer:
Spread 1/2 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of one prepared dish.
Arrange 3-4 noodles over sauce.
Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over noodles.
Arrange 1/2 squash over cheese mixture.
Spread 1/2 kale mixture
Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over squash and kale.

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 kale mixture over squash.
Spread 1 cup sauce over kale.

Third Layer:
Arrange 4 noodles over sauce.
Spread rest of the sauce over noodles.
Lay down provolone sliced on top of sauce
Cover pan with foil and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

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Sadie said...

love this recipe...I have done it using "acorn squash" by accident when I thought I bought butternut squash--my whole family loved it! Now I'm using the same recipe using pumpkin--it's delicious! Thanks for sharing Maplebird!

giz said...

What a fabulous combination!!! Thanks for posting it - now on my list. I can't resist anything with Kale in it.

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