Thursday, December 18, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash, Rosemary, and Garlic Lasagna

I used to get Cooking Light magazine - for years actually - and finallly decided I have enough of them in my possession to never need another magazine or cookbook ever again. But back in the early days of my subscription, I eagerly read every new issue. In November 2004 I was 8 months pregnant, and started making this recipe. We loved it so much that I decided to make it for my son's birth. (This is kind of an odd story for a recipe blog, I realize.) We had a home birth, and the doula had suggested that we have food on hand to feed the birthing team (doula, midwife, and doctor) - in addition to ourselves. After a 28-hour labor, we all really needed the comfort of a rich, hot dish like this one. I had it ready in the refrigerator, and once the baby FINALLY came, we put this in the oven and voila!

8-1/4 c. (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
Cooking spray
4 c. fat-free milk, divided
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary (actually I always use fresh, because we have it in the garden)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles
3/4 c. (3 oz.) graded fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1/2 c. whipping cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Arrange butternut squash in a single layer in a large roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Coat squash with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until squash is just tender, stirring once. Set aside.

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Combine 3-1/2 c. milk and rosemary in a 1-quart glass measuring cup, and microwave at HIGH for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain milk through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard rosemary.

Lightly spoon all-purpose flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and remaining 1/2 cup milk, stirring flour mixture with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or until tender, stirring constantly. Stir in steeped milk, and increase heat to medium-high. Gradually add slurry to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Combine milk mixture and squash, tossing gently.

Spread about 1-1/2 cups squash mixture into the bottom of an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over squash mixture; top with 2 cups squash mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers once with 3 noodles, 2 cups squash, and 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with 3 noodles.

Beat whipping cream and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt with mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Spread the whipping cream mixture over noodles; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

(Anyone who has read Cooking Light knows they are really into cooking spray!)

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