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I am very tempted to post yet another rant about how much I hate winter. But I’m going to think positive today (even though it’s Monday). There are good things about winter. Winter means squash season, and that’s dwindling. I went to the farmer’s market this weekend and was greeted by an almost-empty pavilion, with only the hardiest of farmers making the trek with the remains of their winter produce. I figured if they dragged their butts out of bed at oh dark thirty to come sell what they had left, the least I could do was buy something, right? My choices were basically onions, potatoes, or some variety of winter squash – this Saturday’s winner was butternut, so I grabbed a couple to remake one of my absolute favorite weekend dinners – this butternut squash and kale lasagna.
Veggie lasagna is a strange animal, I guess. It’s really the only lasagna I know, but I hear people say all the time that it’s impossible to get any flavor without the meat. Not my experience at all, and I think this one in particular has so much going on that you’d never miss the ground-up whatever. Sweet butternut squash is tempered by the mellower steamed kale, with a flavorful bechamel and a silky ricotta-mozzarella filling. When I first made this it was an impulsive Sunday dinner when my best friend was in town for the weekend, but it’s quickly become a favorite. Soon we’ll give way to spring veggies, but as much as I complain about winter, its warm flavors will be missed.
|Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna||
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1½ lbs butternut squash, diced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 8 oz kale
- 15 oz fat free ricotta
- 2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)
- Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Toss butternut squash with oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until squash is softened. Remove squash to a bowl and use a fork or potato masher to mash the squash to a coarse consistency.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium saucepot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in flour and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add milk, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
- Stir ricotta, 1½ cups mozzarella, egg, parsley, and oregano together in a large bowl.
- In a steamer, steam kale for 4-5 minutes until stems are tender. Remove from heat and stir into ricotta mixture.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce into the bottom the pan. Add three lasagna noodles. Cover with a layer of the ricotta mixture and a layer of butternut squash. Repeat with the remaining noodles, sauce, ricotta and squash. Top with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, until browned and bubbling.. Let cool for five minutes in the pan, and serve hot.