Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Squash and Greens Lasagna Rolls

I do not eat enough lasagna. For something that I love so much, it appears on my dinner plate far too infrequently because it's generally a meal for a big crowd, not for just a couple of servings. Enter lasagna rolls, which make both an elegant dish for a large gathering, but are also easily freezable  individual portions. I've long been thinking I should give them shot, only dissuaded by the effort of assembling all the individual rolls. But when a favorite coworker that I persuaded to join the same CSA told me this was her favorite use of our copious deliveries of winter squash, I knew I had to try it. Neither one of us are the kind of women who go in for "skinny" recipes, but despite that moniker, this recipe is absolutely delicious.

Butternut squash and spinach are the original combination, and quite delicious, but this recipe can certainly extend to other winter squash and hearty greens, like acorn squash and Swiss chard or delicata squash and kale. I object on principle to fat-free dairy (perhaps it's my Wisconsin roots), opting instead for part-skim, which I prefer because of the slightly lighter texture. The nuttiness of whole wheat noodles complements the sweetness of the squash and earthiness of the greens much better than the regular white variety, but any kind will make a suitable canvas for this comforting meal. Rich and cheesy, but packed with nutrition, this cozy meal will satisfy on even the coldest of winter nights.

Winter Squash and Greens Lasagna Rolls
adapted from SkinnyTaste
makes 9 rolls

1 pound butternut or other winter squash, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

9 whole wheat or whole grain lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions to al dente
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, kale, or Swiss Chard heated and squeezed well
15 ounce part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 ounces shredded mozzarella (or mozzarella-provolone blend) cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon, reserve about 1 cup of the water and set aside, then blend until smooth with an immersion blender, adding 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out.

2. Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, add the oil, sauté the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little more of the reserved water to thin out to your liking. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1/2 cup butternut sauce sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

4. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

5. Ladle remaining sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top evenly with shredded cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts and everything is hot and bubbly. Makes 9 rolls.

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