Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagne with Goat Cheese, Sage and Breadcrumbs

A couple of weeks ago we had bought a couple of butternut squashes and didn't really know what to do with them so we searched and searched for a recipe till we found this one on finecooking.com and modified slightly.

It's not very hard to make but takes quite a bit of preparing and patients. So far we've made this recipe twice the first time it took us a while and the second time we were more organized and got everything prepared a couple of days before wanting to eat the lasagne.

It's delicious and worth the hard work and time..

The ingredients you'll need are;

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 lb.), halved lengthwise and seeded 
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme plus 2 tsp. chopped leaves  
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter  
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage plus 1 tsp. chopped leaves 
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups whole milk - we used skim
  • 1-1/4 cups crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 oz.) 
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (2 oz.) - we used parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs or panko 
What's great about the recipe is that it's split up into parts which makes it easier to follow.

What you do first is preheat the oven to 425°F, then you start preparing the squash.

Take the cut in half seeded squash and place it on a baking sheet. Put 1 clove of garlic and 1 sprig of thyme in each half, then drizzle with 1tsp of oil and season each half with 1/4 tsp salt and a bit of pepper. Roast until browned and tender making the squash flesh easy to remove for about 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven once done and let cool completely.

Once this is done take away the thyme and scoop the squash flesh from the skins into a bowl with the garlic. Mash it all up with a fork until smooth, season again with salt and pepper if needed. 
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

The second step concentrates on making the goat cheese and sage sauce. For this zoo have to melt 4 tbs of the butter into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Take out the sage and add the flour, whisking until smooth and golden for about 2 minutes. 

Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking occasionally until thick enough to coat the back of a spook, for about 15 minutes. Then stir in the goat cheese, 1/2 cup of pecorino, the nutmeg, 1 tsp salt and a bit of pepper. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Once done set aside 1 and 1/2 cups of the sauce and mix the rest in with the mashed squash.

The next step is simple, seasoning the breadcrumbs. This is done by melting the leftover butter in a small pan over medium heat. In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs, chopped sage, chopped thyme, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper together, adding the butter to it as well.

Now we're almost done, all that's left is assembling and baking the lasagne, for this you take a baking dish preferably sized 9x13x3 inches and spread 1/2 a cup of the cheese sauce set aside on the bottom. Cover the sauce with a layer of lasagne noodles, cutting them if needed to fill any spaces. Then spread 1 cup of the squash mixture over the noodles, adding another layer of noodles on top of that and repeating till done, this should make about 4 squash layers and 5 pasta layers (don't freak out if it doesn't). Spread the rest of the 1 cup cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of pecorino.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is browned and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
That's it! Now wasn't that easy? The first time we baked this it took us around 5 hours the second time we prepared everything two days before baking the lasagne, making it more enjoyable.
You can make the squash mixture up to a day before assembling the lasagne and you can assemble the lasagne up to 2 days before baking it. If you do prepare the lasagne up to two days before make sure you refrigerate it and wrap it up will as well as letting the lasagne warm up to room temperature before baking it.
Below is the end product, mhm mhm mhmmmmm 

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