Sunday, December 1, 2013

Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna

There was this butternut squash lasagna that I wanted to try for a long time and this Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect occasion to try that out.

An 8x8 baking tray is prefect for the recipe below. When making lasagna, it is really important that the entire tray is full otherwise the sauce will drain away.

Recipe adapted from this one.

I got a whole butternut squash and prepared it from scratch. Half of it sufficed for this recipe (for 4 people).

Serves 4

half of a medium-sized butternut squash
large kale leaves (little less than half of a typical bunch)  3-4
2% reduced fat milk                                                     3 cups
all-purpose flour                                                           4 tbsp
finely chopped garlic                                                    2 large cloves
no-boil lasagna noodles                                                6
shredded Italian cheese                                               1 cup
unsalted butter                                                            4 tbsp
powdered black pepper

Method -
1. Cut the butternut squash in half and peel one half with vertical strokes using a knife or a peeler. Cut it in small flat-ish pieces since we have to stuff them in between 2 layers.

2. Put aluminium foil on a baking tray, and toss the squash pieces on it with salt, pepper and vegetable oil.
I saved some squash seeds and roasted them along with the squash. They were toasty and crunchy - a nice garnish for the lasagna.
Roast at 400 deg F for about 25-30 mins or until it is soft, tossing the squash once after 15 mins.

3. Wash the kale leaves, remove the thick veins and chop them. Then sprinkle salt over the chopped leaves and massage them vigorously by taking a fistful in your hand at a time and releasing. This "tames" the kale and makes it more manageable as well as palatable.

4. Mix the roasted squash and the kale well.

5. Heat the milk in a pot. In a different pot, add the 2 tbsp butter on medium heat. Once it is mostly melted, add the chopped garlic and saute for 1-2 mins.

6. Then add the 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour to the melted butter, saute for 2 mins. Now add the hot milk gradually, keep your heat a bit higher than medium and keep stirring until the mixture thickens a bit.

7. Now add 3/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp powdered black pepper (adjust amounts to your taste). Also add 1/4 cup cheese and stir well. Turn off heat.

8. Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Grease the baking dish. Pour roughly 1/4th of the white sauce on to the baking dish.

9. Place 2 lasagna noodles over it and half of the squash-kale mixture over the noodles. Pour another 1/4th of the sauce, sprinkle 1/4th cup cheese.

10. Repeat #9

11. Top with the remaining 2 noodles, remaining white sauce and 1/4th cup cheese.

12. Cover with aluminium foil, make several slits for the steam to escape and bake at 375 deg F for 10-15 mins.

13. Then remove foil, top with pecans, walnuts and/or toasted squash seeds. Broil in the oven for 5-7 mins or until brown spots appear on the lasagna. Serve hot.

Update [Oct 2016]:
I made this last night with sweet potato and it turned out great! I did not notice any difference in the taste. Also sweet potato is a lot easier than butternut squash to peel and prep!

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