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1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and thinly sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 sprigs fresh sage
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cayenne
1 15-oz container part-skim ricotta
5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 lb part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. To make the squash: Gently toss the butternut squash slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Scatter 3 sprigs of sage on top of the squash and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until caramelized.
3. To make the roux: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour to the pan and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Slowly add the milk to the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the garlic and remaining sprig of sage and cook over low heat, whisking often to prevent scorching. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and discard garlic and sage. Season the bechamel with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne.
4. To make the ricotta: Combine ricotta with spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour 1/4 of the bechamel into the bottom of a greased pan and spread to cover the bottom (I used an 8″ x 10″ aluminum pan, but whatever you make lasagna or baked ziti in will work).
6. Place noodles over the bechamel, breaking them apart as needed to fill in all gaps.
7. Top noodles evenly with the ricotta mixture.
8. Scatter 1/4 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta.
9. Repeat the layers: bechamel, noodles, ricotta, and mozzarella. Mozzarella should be the final layer.
10. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

photo

Note: needs more bechamel. Adjust quantity for this recipe in the future.

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Ah, you’ve returned. Well good. Now we can get back to that chicken.

To back up just a bit, instead of placing the quartered chicken on a plain old baking sheet, let’s add some color. Chop five or so medium leeks and clean well. Scatter them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle with oil and a touch of S & P. When cooking the chicken, lay them directly on the leeks. All other steps outlined in Part One remain the same.

While the chicken is cooking, peel and dice potatoes and butternut squash and boil in water in two separate pots. Once they are fork-tender, drain, combine in one pot and mash or whisk until smooth. Season with butter, S & P.

Now, there’s one more installment in The Perfect Roasted Chicken Series. I know you’re thinking, Damn–how could this recipe get any better? Come back tomorrow to find out.