Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna - My FIRST Lasagna ever!

I didn't think I liked butternut squash. I don't like green or yellow squash so why would I? But when my husband and I were in Las Vegas last week, one of the buffets had butternut squash ravioli and I decided to try it. Guess what? It was delicious!

So this past weekend, when my husband and I were food shopping, one of the grocery stores had butternut squash on sale for 49 cents a pound. Despite our goal for the month of November to not spend much on groceries and finally clear out all of our cabinets from the stockpiles of food we have, we decided to go ahead and purchase a small butternut squash, lasagna noodles (I really wanted to make ravioli but I couldn't find wrappers for those) and a small container of ricotta cheese that luckily, was on sale.

I had my goal for Wednesday, the day I was off work. Make my very first lasagna ever. And a butternut squash one at that! I am glad I did it on a day off too...while easy, the recipe took time with all the oven time needed and it is not something that can easily be done after work.

I started my task around 2:30 pm. I didn't follow a true recipe (which I am super proud of because this is MY creation!) but I did look up briefly just how to form the lasagna and how to roast the butternut squash to make a puree.

I wanted to use a butternut squash puree instead of chunks of cut up butternut squash because I was trying to recreate the ravioli from Las Vegas.

So, I started. First I halved the butternut squash and scooped out the little area of its "guts." I fed my gerbils some of the butternut squash seeds and they went bonkers so I ended up saving most of the seeds, washing and drying them, and putting them in a baggie so they have some special treats for a little while.

Then I put the squash halves on a baking sheet with a little water and put it in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, until the squash was fork tender.

Then I scooped it out of the skin and put it in a blender with a blend of spices/seasonings (which I will write about below).

After that was ready, I started to assemble my lasagna. I can say it wasn't the prettiest lasagna ever made, but it was my first and I was darn proud of it. And my butternut squash puree came out pretty darn tasty if I say so myself!

I know the recipe was a success because my husband gobbled it up in no time. The one change we can both agree on for next time is maybe only using one layer of ricotta cheese instead of two because it overshadowed the butternut squash just slightly, but we could still very much taste the squash as well. But for a more stand alone butternut squash taste, I will probably use just one layer of cheese and two layers of the squash next time.

Now that I know I can make a lasagna, I just have to work on how to use the noodles for efficiently to make it look a little nicer. I got the taste part down!

And now, the recipe...


1 butternut squash
ricotta cheese
lasagna noodles
marinara sauce (whatever is your fancy, store bought, homemade, whatever!)
garlic powder
dried parsley flakes
Parmesan cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Half the butternut squash and scoop out the "guts" and seeds. Place the squash halves face down on a baking sheet and pour some water on the tray.

Roast for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.

** While this was going on, I had to cook my lasagna noodles because I did not buy the no boil kind. If you have the kind you need to cook, do this while the squash is roasting, drain and set to the side.

When tender, scoop the squash out of its skin and into a blender. I also added salt and pepper to taste , garlic powder to taste and a tiny pinch of nutmeg (no more than 1/8 teaspoon). I pureed the mixture for 20 seconds, then added some dried parsley flakes and pureed it until all mixed together and smooth.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Take whatever dish you are using to cook the lasagna in and put some sauce on the bottom. Put a layer of noodles on top of the sauce and then a layer of ricotta cheese and a layer of the butternut squash puree on top of the cheese. Follow with a small amount of sauce and a light sprinkling of oregano.

Add another layer of noodles, cheese and butternut squash. You can either stop with that layer or add a third. (Note, I only used oregano after my first layer, none of the others until I was finishing off the top).

Once finished layering, add your final topping of noodles and cover with sauce, a light sprinkling of oregano and a light layer of shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bake covered at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, then remove cover and bake uncovered for about a half hour.

Serve hot and enjoy!!

If you want to make this to freeze, prepare it and do not bake it - freeze it after it is assembled. This can last for about 2 months. When ready to cook, thaw for 24 hours and bake as directed above.

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