Saturday, 27 March 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Yum yum yum! Calling it "Butternut Squash Lasagna" is probably false advertising -there's barely any butternut squash in there heh.


1 butternut squash, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 chicken breast, sliced/chopped into small pieces
lasagna sheets, fresh or dried
100g Parmagiano Reggiano cheese
500g spinach
generous sprinkling of nutmeg
knob of butter
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce
if you live in Holland, the Grand Italia Sugocasa Erbe will do. Just add 1 chopped onion and 1 garlic clove.  If not:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons sugar
small bunch basil leaves, optional
salt & pepper to taste

Bechamel sauce
Again, the Grand Italia Bechamel sauce is fine. To make your own:

1/2 liter full cream milk (volle melk in Dutch)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 pepercorns
50g butter
50g plain flour

1) Toss the squash and chicken with some olive oil and put them into a pre-warmed oven (180 C) for about 30 minutes.

2) In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. If you have access to Grand Italia's Sugocasa Erbe (BTW, I am NOT advertising for Grand Italia- that's just the brand I usually use when I'm lazy), heat up the sauce together with 1 onion, chopped and  1 garlic clove, chopped. Leave it to simmer for around 15 minutes.

If you're making the sauce from scratch, saute onion until soft in some olive oil. Then, add the celery and garlic. Finally, add the tomatoes and sugar and leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes. When done, you can add as much salt & pepper as you want.

3)  Wash spinach and throw them into a wok (no oil. I use the wok because 500g of fresh spinach will not fit any of my saucepans). Toss them around so that all the leaves will be in contact with the heat. When all the leaves have wilted (about 5 minutes), turn off the heat. Leave it to cool for about 20 minutes or until they're cool enough to touch.

When they are, squeeze the spinach (there will be lots of water) and chopp finely. Toss the spinach with the melted butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

4) Again, the Bechamel sauce by Grand Italia is good enough. If you want to make your own, mix the milk, peppercorns, bay leave  and onion in a pan and bring it to a boil Turn off the heat and leave it for 5 minutes. Then strain the mixture into another pan. Add the flour and butter and whisk over gentle heat. You should have a smooth, thick sauce.

5) To assemble, start with half of the chicken+butternut squash mixture (bottom layer). Then add 1/2 of the tomato sauce mixture, followed by some lasagna sheets (to make one single but large layer). Next is the Bechamel sauce and on top of that, 1/2 of the spinach. Grate half the cheese.

After that, put another layer of lasagna sheets, butternut squash+chicken, tomato sauce and then lasagna sheets again. Finally, spread the leftover Bechamel sauce and cover with the other half of the cheese (also grated).

6) Bake at 200 C for 30-35 minutes


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