Finally! After 2 months of snow dances, dismay and downright worry, snow has lit upon the bare tree branches and is gracing us with its presence. What happened Mr. Snow Mizer? Did you get too much of us last year with your record snowfall last year? Huh? Huh?
Well, we’re happy you’re here. And so I’m throwing a party in your honor and serving up some gooey, homey delicious love.
Say it with me. Laaaa-saaaannnnyyyaaa. Gooey.
Yes sir, lasagne. And in keeping with my NYR (new years resolution) I’m going meatless on Mondays, so this week I made a fave, go-to veggie option.
I used to make this dish every Christmas when I was the hostess for the volunteer holiday party for my fave animal rescue, where everything had to be served veggie. Hello, we’re an animal RESCUE, not eatery. So did anyone miss the meat? Not a chance! Why not? Because this recipe is delicious! Oh, and the layers of cheese don’t hurt much.
The secret? Well, Giada blends almond amaretti cookies with the butternut squash to lend a balanced sweetness and then adds fresh basil to the bechamel sauce. I didn’t get to my favorite specialty store so I used almond flavored biscotti and it turned out just as well.
My twist on Giada’s tastiness is to load up on the cheese and goo factor by adding ricotta to the mozzarella and parm mix and then heft it up by adding a few layers of sautéed shiitake mushrooms. Giving my man something to girth on besides meat, right?
I usually double the recipe so it stacks up real high, and because I have a lovely, deep baking dish.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup water
- 4 amaretti cookies or almond flavored biscotti, crumbled
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3½ cups whole milk
- 4-5 good grates of fresh nutmeg
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat to 375 degrees F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, toss with oil, season with salt and pepper and then pour the water into the skillet. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender about 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti or biscotti cookies and blend until smooth.
- Heat another large skillet over medium heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat and add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly about 5 minutes. Add in grated nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender and add the basil. Mixture will be hot so place a towel or cloth over top of blender so mixture doesn’t explode. Blend until smooth then return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Lightly butter a 13 X 9 X 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread ⅓ of the squash puree over the noodles then ⅓ of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with ½ cup of mozzarella cheese and ⅓ cup ricotta cheese. Drizzle ½ cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times, ending with a layer of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with foil sprayed with Pam or other cooking spray and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for about 15 more minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from oven and let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.
And now for more homey Italian comfort love.
photo > Foodjimoto
photo > Simply Delicious
Like I’ve said before, I’m a fan of anything in a cup like my Baked Apple Cuplettes and Ham & Cheese Baked Egg Cups. Ally adds to my obsession thanks to her creation of a simple bechamel sauce with creme fraiche and marscarpone to make Simply Delicious’ Lasagna Cups an easy weeknight dinner. I can see the kids going NUTS over these little devils.
photo > Whipped the Blog
No-cook noodles and a garlic flavored bechamel flavor Caroline’s elegant enough for entertaining White Vegetarian Lasagna http://whippedtheblog.com/2010/01/25/white-vegetarian-lasagna/ from Whipped the Blog.
photo > FatFree Vegan
I had to include a recipe with the ‘it-girl’ Mila Kunis ‘it-ingredient’ of the moment equivalent:—KALE—by including FatFree Vegan’s Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale. Hey lookie there, Susan made lasagna healthy!
photo > I Breathe…I’m Hungry
Mellissa’s tenacity is a gluten-free lasagna lover’s savior! Subbing sometimes lame gluten free pasta for garbanzo bean crepes, layer up your faves like classic bolognese, marinara and gooey cheeses to create I Breathe…I’m Hungry’s Gluten-Free Lasagna with Garbanzo Bean Crepes .
photo > Delishhh
And to continue loving our meatless meals goals for the year, we’re going to help make yours a little easier by announcing the winner of the Pam Anderson/Three Many Cooks giveaway.
And thanks to Random.org, the winner is: Stacie from the blog Foodie Two Shoes. Congrats Stacie, thank you Pam for the book and swag and cheers to all for a year of healthy eating.
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