Sunday, December 02, 2012

Squash & Leek Lasagna

Since the hurricane, I never bothered to really restock anything. I had no produce, I had no snack foods, I had no beverages other than coffee and a 2L of sprite. I wasn't mowed down by the hurricane. I've just been a terribly lazy, overly anxious person. And when I'm anxious, you know that means I subsist on coffee, sour patch kids, and takeout.

NO MORE, I tell you. NO MORE. I mean, I did buy the world's largest bag of Sour Patch Kids at the store last night. And another 2L of Sprite to make Dirty Shirleys. And another 2L of grape soda because my friend talked about it so much that it made me want it. BUT BESIDES THAT. I bought real groceries. Added to the stuff I stocked up on from Trader Joe's at my parents' over Thanksgiving, I'm set for making real food. I am going to try so hard, you guys, SO HARD.

Now. Before I went to the grocery store, I made myself dinner. It was OKAY. Just okay. And because mine turned out "just okay," I'd have to say that this is a very solid recipe that I would recommend, solely because if mine came out okay, then anyone else's will be a million times better.

You see, because I hadn't gone to the grocery store, it seemed I was lacking in ingredients. I also had previously purchased really lazy ingredients, like frozen pureed butternut squash so I wouldn't have to grate it myself. I did have leeks in the refrigerator because I'd gotten them at Trader Joe's. And probably the biggest problem, that I discovered once everything was already in saucepans, was that I was out of milk.

You know, one of the major ingredients in this.

Luckily, I had a box of almond milk left over from the hurricane (so I could eat cereal!). Thankfully, I had a box of the plain flavor and not vanilla, like I normally get. Hm. So I used that... and discovered I only had three cups of it. Crap. I added a cup of vegetable broth instead, because seriously what else was I supposed to do? No one will be shocked to know that this concoction did not thicken and set up like milk would have done. It was watery, but it poured over the noodles just fine. Then I glopped thawed butternut squash puree on top and it was all just a big mess.

But it ended up alright! And if that disaster can end up alright, then anything can. Truly, I prefer this squash lasagna instead: Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary & Garlic. But I'm glad this one managed to pull through despite my incompetence. Hoorah!


Squash & Leek Lasagna
Eating Well

If lasagna is just a layered noodle casserole, there's no reason to stand on ceremony. Here's a vegetarian, autumnal version with butternut squash, leeks, pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

10 ounces lasagna noodles -- preferably whole-wheat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large or 5 medium leeks -- pale green and white parts only, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups nonfat milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 pounds butternut squash -- peeled, halved, seeded and grated using the large-hole side of a box grater
6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano -- grated using the large-hole side of a box grater
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot and cover with cool water.

3. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the leeks; stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk in a slow stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in thyme, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Remove from the heat.

4. Assemble lasagna in the prepared baking dish by layering one-third of the noodles, one-third of the sauce, half the squash, one-third of the cheese, half the remaining noodles, half the remaining sauce, all the pine nuts, all the remaining squash, half the remaining cheese, all the remaining noodles, all the remaining sauce and all the remaining cheese. Cover with parchment paper then foil.

5. Bake the lasagna for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving (or follow make-ahead instructions).

Servings: 12

Make Ahead Tip : Bake, let cool for 1 hour, cover with parchment paper then foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat, covered, at 350°F for 1 hour, then uncovered for 30 minutes more.

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