Thursday, November 25, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving and a Recipe
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it and a wonderful weekend for the rest of you. I'm doin' the "Happy Dance" because all of my cooking responsibilities are done and it's not even breakfast time! WooHoo!
Thought I'd share the recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna that has become a Thanksgiving tradition for us.
3 lbs. butternut squash, quartered, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (about 9 1/2 cups)
Trust me, if you can find it already cut up at Costco like I do, this goes a whole lot quicker!
3 T vegetable oil
4 cups whole milk
2 T dried rosemary, crumbled
1 T minced garlic
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 C all-purpose flour
Nine 7 x 3 1/2" sheets of no boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla because they're nice and flat)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (about 5 oz)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 450 and oil 2 large shallow baking pans.
In a large bowl toss squash with oil until well coated and spread in one layer among the pans. Roast squash 10 minutes, then season with salt. Stir squash and roast 10 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to turn golden.
While squash is roasting, in a saucepan bring milk with rosemary to a simmer. Cook milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes and pour through a sieve into a large heatproof 1-qt. pitcher or measuring cup.
In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened. Stir in flour and cook the roux, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add milk in a stream, whisking until smooth. Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in squash and salt and pepper (white if you have it to avoid the black specks if that bothers you) to taste. (I smoosh a bit of the squash into the sauce but leave plenty of chunkiness too.) Sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, it's surface covered with plastic wrap.
Reduce heat to 375 (or preheat if you've made sauce ahead) and butter a 13x9x2 " baking dish.
Pour 1 cup of sauce (it will not cover the bottom completely) and cover with 3 lasagna sheets, making sure they don't touch. Spread half the remaining sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Make one more layer in same manner with 3 sheets, remaining sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and top with remaining 3 lasagna sheets.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream with salt until it holds soft peaks and spread evenly over lasagna, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup (or more like I do) over cream. Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching cream and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagna 10 minutes more, or until bubbling and golden. Let stand at least 5 minutes before cutting.
Since I've been doing this for awhile, I thought I'd give you my observations and tricks. First of all, no matter how you do it, it takes longer than it says to bake. I've always found that the top layer of lasagna sheets tend to curl up and you get some hard ends sticking up. To avoid this, you can either snap off the corners of the outer noodles before smoothing on the whipped cream, or do like I do and assemble it in advance (minus the whipped cream layer) and cover and refrigerate it overnight. Remove it from the fridge well in advance of baking (or again it will add that much more to the baking time), and let it come to room temperature, then apply the whipped cream layer and bake as directed. I've found the over night thing helps the noodles soften a little before baking and anything I can do in advance, I'm all over it! If the top layer curls, you can either turn them over, or push them down a bit before adding the top layer of cream. (I still bake it longer to get a nice brown crust on top. YUM!)
This is great for a dinner party because of the whole make ahead thing. The recipe says it serves 6 as a main course but it's pretty darn rich. I usually serve it as a side dish. Particularly yumbo with pork, or in the case of Thanksgiving, roast turkey.
Again I have to say thank you to all of my cyber friends for the love and support you give me on a daily basis. I am truly thankful to share this day with you and wish you a wonderful holiday.
Now what do I do? Craft maybe? Who knows, I may just be back with a project. We'll see. xxD