Sometimes we don't eat dinner until after 8:00, and that's okay. Tonight it was suspiciously close to the 8:30 mark, but thankfully I have the most patient of husbands and an abnormal amount of citrus fruit upon which we can snack while dinner bubbles away in the oven. And tonight, the extra effort and delayed dinnertime were more than worth it. I gave Price the option of chicken curry or butternut squash and spinach lasagna ... to my delight (and his stated surprise), he chose the latter. I've trained him well, no? Who would have ever expected a night in which my Bama-born, meat-loving, squash-hating husband would choose butternut squash over spicy chicken curry.
AND he roasted the squash for me! Clearly, I have a real winner on my hands.
The lasagna turned out so delightfully, so nearly-perfect that it preempted my planned blog (on a certain 2011 baking resolution) because I just had to share.
The pairing of the nutty squash with the rich white sauce was perfect, and the nutmeg stands out as the highlight of the whole dish. Subtle, but sublime. And every other bite or so the fresh black pepper provides a bite you want, but wouldn't increase.
Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna
based loosely on this from Giada de Laurentis
1 large butternut squash
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 cups 2% milk
salt, pepper, nutmeg
3 handfuls of fresh spinach (3-4 cups)
2-3 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Roast at 400 for 20-25 minutes (until very fragrant and the insides are soft). Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until lump-free.
3. Add milk and heavy cream. Stir until thick (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
4. Pour half of the sauce into a blender. Add 2 handfuls of fresh spinach. Blend until smooth, then add back into the remaining sauce. Stir and season liberally with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
5. Scrape the insides of the butternut squash into blender or bowl. Blend or use a hand mixer to create a squash puree.
6. Layer the lasagna in a 7x11 dish: noodles, squash, fresh spinach, cheese, sauce. Repeat twice (for a total of 3 layers). Cover the top with remaining cheese.
7. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes covered in foil. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.