Butternut Squash and Spinach Ricotta Lasagna

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butternut-spinach-lasagna
Butternut squash and spinach ricotta lasagne

Lasagna has been calling me. Any time I am make lasagna it is a labor of love, has to be… it takes a lot of prep time. Each step from scratch and a big messy kitchen (but maybe that’s just the way I cook.) Because of that we usually only enjoy it a couple of times a year, mostly as a specially requested birthday dinner or holiday meal. Big, meaty, cheesy and urber rich homemade marinara sauce. I’ve been hankering one of these for the holidays, you know how those comfort foods get stuck in your head and ends up a must have?

Last fall I made a butternut version from Everyday Food, it was really good, but seemed more like a side dish than a main attraction. This was the basis for my inspiration and has been rattling around my brain for weeks. When I mentioned to my darling dear that I was planning this new fangled recipe, he cried out, “But then you won’t make your regular lasagna for ages, aww honey!” Never fear, the traditional version is on my Christmas menu. So, after pondering the flavor palate and texture combinations all day I started prepping as soon as I got home from work. On a Tuesday night no less. Did not stop for snack and news. Just jumped in a creative frenzy. I think you might enjoy the results. Could be awesome on a buffet with a Christmas ham or it stands well on it’s own.

P.S. Remember any lasagna is a labor of love, put on some great music, pour a glass of wine and roll up your sleeves and enjoy the process! I love these artists when I am cooking. On YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUibjcu2L_s or On Pandora Rodrigo and Gabriela

butternut-lasagne
Fresh baby sage leaves dot the top of this lasagna

Recipe follows, click read more if you are ready.

 Butternut & Spinach Ricotta Lasagna
4 layers of goodness
Prep time 20-30 minutes
Cook time 60 minutes
Makes 9 x 13 Lasagna
Serves 8
Ingredients
Olive Oil
1 pkg no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups bechamel sauce or 1 15 oz jar cheesy alfredo sauce
15 oz low fat ricotta cheese
½ cup light sour cream
1 cup shredded parmasen cheese
6 oz shredded light mozzerella cheese
3 cups cooked butternut squash, mashed
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
¾  tsp ground nutmeg
½ – 1 tsp kosher salt

Prep – 15-20 minutes
Creating 3 different fillings to layer your lasagne
1) Peel butternut squash and cut into 1” pieces, place in saucepan, over with water and bring to boil, add pinch of salt. Cook aprox 10 min until soft. Put in bowl, drain and mash.
2) Divide ricotta cheese evenly into two medium bowls
3) Saute garlic and onion in olive oil 3 minutes, add chopped fresh spinach and continue cooking until just wilted. Give it a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
4) Pour cheesy alfredo sauce in bowl, add 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh sage and parsley, pinch of ground black pepper
5) Toast walnuts drizzled in Limerock Orchards Walnut oil (or olive oil)  7-10 minutes in 350 degree oven, watch so they don’t burn, stir/toss half way.

Directions – Preheat Oven 350º
1) Butternut Squash Layer
Combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, ½ cup sour cream, 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, ¼ cup plain bread crumbs, ¼ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp kosher salt.
2) Spinach Ricotta Layer
Combine 7 ½ oz ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, ¼ cup shredded parmasan, ½ tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, cooked spinach mixture. Stir to completely distribute the spinach throughout the cheese mixture.
3) Ricotta Cheese Layer
Combine 7 ½ oz ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, ¼ cup shredded parmasan, pinch of white pepper, ½ tsp nutmeg, ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
Assembly
1) Pour ½ cup cheesy alfredo sauce in bottom of 9×13 pan and top with 4 lasagne noodles, slightly overlapping each other.
2) Spread half the butternut squash mixture on top of noodles, lightly sprinkle with parmasan cheese, top with 4 lasagne noodle, slightly overlapping each other.
3) Spread spinach ricotta layer evenly over the noodles, top with 4 lasagne noodles, slightly overlapping each other.
4) Spread remaining butternut squash mixture on noodles, slightly press down to even distribution. Top with Ricotta Mixture, then place remaining 4 lasagne noodles, slightly overlapping each other.
5) Final layer! Pour rest of cheesy alfredo sauce evenly over the top of noodles, make sure you cover all the noodles with good amount as these no-boil type need the liquid of the sauce to fully soften and cook. Next, sprinkle the following in order a) ¾ cup mozzerella cheese, b) ¼ cup chopped walnuts, c) ¼ cup parmasan, d) combined herbs of 1 tbl chopped sage and 1 tbl chopped italian parsley. If you have some tiny fresh sage leaves they can be lovely decorating the top.
Bake 60 minutes, then let rest a full 15 before serving so the layers maintain their structure when cut and served.

Cook’s Tips
Trying to save time, I gave these no-boil noodles a try, and my preference would be to use traditional boiled noodles. I like the texture and flavor so much better. A homemade bechamel sauce would really give you more control of the texture and flavors, but the doctored jar of sauce worked just fine.
Recipe from What About The Food? Blog Copyright 2010

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7 Responses to Butternut Squash and Spinach Ricotta Lasagna

  1. bentobird says:

    Oh, Yum!! I agree lasagna is a labor of love, and this one looks spectacularly worth all the loving effort!

    I also associate this dish with Chitsmas indulgence and extravagance…my mom makes a seafood version that is 30,000 wonderful calories per serving…some years featuring bechamel and smoked salmon!

  2. Robin says:

    OOOOHHHHH and smoked salmon! I’m in love!

  3. Yaay! Limerock Walnut Oil! I have to tell you, I am a butternut FIEND and cannot resist ordering butternut ravioli at an Italian restaurant. This looks just amazing and I will absolutely have to try it!

    We’ve posted a link on Limerock’s FB page here: http://www.facebook.com/limerockorchards

    Thank you for your patronage and have a wonderful December!

  4. Robin says:

    Happy Holidays Gonzales Family and Limerock Orchards. I am hoping you give this a go and love it as much as I do. The toasted walnuts really make the difference. Cheers!

  5. coryzalia says:

    The lasagna recipe contains layers of delicious mixture.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I gave this a go and it is baking as we speak! I love butternut squash and was looking for a recipe that combined ricotta and onions with the seasonal gourd when I came across yours. It smells delicious, can’t wait to try !

  7. Robin says:

    Hey Anonymous….
    I hope it was as tasty as it smelled!
    Cheers!

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