Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Winter Squash and Ricotta Lasagna

This last beautiful weekend almost had me convinced it was spring, but the cold snap this week indicates otherwise. The only saving grace of this retreat into winter is that it puts some foods back on my seasonal table, like this lasagna. I've gotten quite lax in using up my winter squash puree in my freezer recently, but this recipe uses a whopping four cups to a delicious end. Winter squash and ricotta get paired up all the time, their sweetness and silkiness blending beautiful while still maintaining their own character. Pungent Parmesan cheese adds a more assertive note, with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and sage bringing it all together. I can't exactly call this fast food since it spends quite some time baking, but you won't spend long preparing it before putting it in the oven. For a meal that will make you resent this backslide into winter just a little less, make up a batch of this hearty lasagna. Even if it's only for a few minutes, a cozy meal will make the cold spring rains feel just a little less harsh and threatening.

Winter Squash and Ricotta Lasagna
adapted from Vegetarian Times
serves 4 to 6

2 12-oz. pkg. frozen wintersquash purée, thawed, or 4 cups fresh winter quash purée
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
½ tsp. ground black pepper
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 short no-cook whole wheat lasagna noodles (about 7x4 inches)

1. To make Lasagna: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine squash purée, 1 tsp. salt, sage, and ¼ tsp. pepper in medium bowl; mix well. Combine ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in second bowl, and mix well.

2. Coat 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place 2 noodles in bottom of dish, overlapping slightly. Spread half of squash mixture over noodles. Layer 2 more noodles on top, and spread with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat layers—noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta—then sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.

3. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 45 minutes, remove foil, and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until golden on top. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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