Friday, March 4, 2011

Not Your Typical Lasagna

I'm a self-proclaimed and (roommate-proclaimed) Rachael Ray fan. I love her bubbly, energetic personality and her fun, casual demeanor in the kitchen. This particular recipe aired on her show earlier this month at the perfect time-- a couple days before I was having two girlfriends over for supper. Intrigued by the flavors, I gathered the ingredients and tested it out on my obliging friends. It was delicious! I can't say I agree with the 'lazy' part as the many pots on the stove kept me on my toes, but I loved this unique spin on one of my favorite meals. Enjoy!

*Note: I used spinach instead of escarole.

Lazy Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Escarole


• 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
• EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
• Salt and pepper
• 1 pound ruffle-edge lasagna noodles, broken into irregular shapes
• 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 medium head escarole, chopped
• About 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
• A small handful of sage leaves, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
• 1/3 pound Italian Fontina or Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and lightly dress with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes, until golden at edges and tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and under-cook pasta by about 2 minutes, a little shy of al dente.
While the water comes to a boil, heat about 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium heat in sauté pan. Add garlic and stir a minute then add escarole and wilt. Season with a little salt and pepper, and add stock, simmer gently until ready to use.
In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, sage, salt, pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
In a saucepot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook a minute or so then whisk in milk. Raise heat a bit and season sauce with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Let sauce thicken to coat the back of a spoon then taste to adjust seasonings.

Drain lasagna noodles and add them back to hot pot. Stir in ricotta cheese mixture, combine evenly, then fold in roasted squash and escarole. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour the milk sauce evenly over the top. Cover with scant layer of Fontina or Gruyère cheese and place in the hot oven on center rack.
Switch oven to broil and leave casserole in oven until lasagna is brown and bubbly all over, about 4 minutes.

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