January 1, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Basil-Ricotta


I know what you’re thinking, “Lasagna?!? For the first post of the New Year??  Shouldn’t you be posting something healthy and all New Year’s Resolution-y?”  Well, don't worry, I am.  Yes it’s lasagna but it’s also healthy.  Ish.  Well, it’s healthy for lasagna.  Think of this as a transitional dish, something to take you from the cheesecake and potato-everything decadence of the holidays to the grilled chicken (without oil) and steamed broccoli (no butter!) harshness of Countdown to Summer 2012, so as to not completely throw your body into shock.  It’s gooey, creamy and cheesy without being completely terrible.   Kinda.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Basil-Ricotta
Makes 2- 5.5” or 6” individual lasagnas (See below for notes on making a large pan)

Ingredients:
1 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil
7-8 ounces ricotta cheese (half of a 15oz container) – whole or low fat, NOT fat free
½ cup parmesan cheese
Dash nutmeg (3-4 swipes of fresh grated or 3-4 shakes of ground)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 13-inch lasagna sheets, homemade or store bought*
½ cup shredded mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend

*If you don't want to make your own pasta, store bought is 100% okay; just make sure you get the regular noodles and NOT the "no-boil" kind as they do not work well for this method.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Finely chop basil and add to ricotta.  Add parmesan cheese and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Taste mixture and adjust any seasonings before adding the egg.  Add egg and mix well to combine.

Assembly:
Spray 2 individual ramekins with nonstick spray.  Place 2 ½ tablespoons of béchamel sauce in the bottom of the ramekin.  Place the center of one lasagna sheet in the ramekin, making sure the parts that overhang are of equal length.  Place 2 ½ tablespoons of ricotta mixture onto pasta and top with 2 ½ tablespoons of butternut squash purée, fold right side of overhang pasta on top of butternut squash.  Add 2 ½ tablespoons of béchamel sauce onto pasta and repeat with ricotta and butternut squash.  Fold remaining pasta on top, add 2 ½ tablespoons of béchamel and 2 ½ tablespoons of butternut squash purée and top with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella or Italian blend cheese.

Repeat for additional ramekin.

Cover with nonstick foil and bake at 400°F for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-25 minutes, depending on the level of browning you prefer. 

Note:  To make an entire pan of lasagna, make full recipes of Healthified Béchamel Sauce and the Roasted Butternut Squash.  Use (1) 15oz container of ricotta, 1 ½ cups loosely packed basil, 2 eggs,  1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, 12 sheets of lasagna and increase the salt, pepper and nutmeg accordingly.  Divide ingredients according to list below.

Here is a breakdown list of the assembly in order and amounts, for both the individual sizes and the large pan:

Béchamel –       2.5 tbsp / 1 cup
Pasta –             1 sheet / 3 sheets
Ricotta –           2.5 tbsp / ½ the mixture
Purée –             2.5 tbsp / ⅓ the mixture
Pasta –              Fold Pasta / 3 sheets
Béchamel –       2.5 tbsp / 1 cup
Ricotta –           2.5 tbsp / ½ half the mixture
Purée –             2.5 tbsp / ⅓ the mixture
Pasta –              Fold Pasta / 3 sheets
Béchamel –       2.5 tbsp / 1 cup
Purée –             2.5 tbsp / ⅓ the mixture
Cheese –          2 tbsp / 6-8 oz

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