Saturday, October 18, 2014

An Autumn Twist on A Classic: Lasagna

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Its a good thing I love butternut squash, because this time of year it is everywhere! I do get a little bored with just the typical soups, stews and roasted veggie medley options though, so I just had to give this fantastic recipe for Autumn Lasagna a try.

It incorporates the squash into the cream sauce, which is genius because instead of just getting chunks of squash throughout, you get the flavor combined with a decadent creamy texture. The ground turkey and sage just complete the whole autumn flavor palate for me. If I had to pick an herb that represented this season, sage would be it by a huge margin, no other herb even comes close.

I stumbled upon the original version of this recipe on The Cozy Apron and stuck pretty closely to the original, only tweaking some seasonings and amounts here and there. This is why I love Pinterest for recipe sharing, not only do I find amazing recipes and inspiration for my own dishes, but I find other bloggers who share my love of food. Definitely swing by The Cozy Apron and check out the recipes, there are several others I can't wait to try!

What is your favorite veggie of the fall, are you as addicted to butternut squash as I am?

Creamy Autumn Lasagna

Ingredients For The Sauce (can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed)
3 heads of garlic, tops cut off
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. of kosher salt (divided)
3 lbs. cubed butternut squash
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 cup chicken (or veggie) broth (warmed)
2 cups half and half (warmed)
4 oz. cream cheese (or mascarpone - I just happened to have cream cheese on hand)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients For The Lasagna
Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. fresh sage leaved (chopped)
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 heaping cups of raw baby spinach leaves
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Make the sauce: Preheat oven to 400 degrees, drizzle olive oil over the heads of garlic, sprinkle with salt, then wrap each head tightly in foil, placing them directly on the oven rack. Once they've been roasting for about 10 minutes, toss the squash together with olive oil, salt & pepper and spread into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast alongside the garlic for 35-40 minutes until tender.

Remove the garlic and squash from the oven, allowing them to cool slightly. Squeeze the cloves of garlic out into a small bowl and mash with a fork, set aside. Add the squash to a large dutch-oven style pot and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (you could also use a food processor if you don't have an immersion blender). Add the roasted garlic to the squash and continue to puree until completely blended.

Put the pot over low heat and add in the broth and half and half, whisk to incorporate, then add in the cream cheese, parmesan, basil, sage, oregano, pepper and salt to taste. Continue to heat slowly and whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Either set aside to use the sauce immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly mist a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Once the turkey is no longer pink, remove from heat and set aside.

Add about 1 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, then layer lasagna noodles on top, add another cup or so of the sauce then add the ground turkey. Top the turkey with 1 cup of the baby spinach leaves and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add about 3/4 cup of the mozzarella and repeat the layering process until you are done with ingredients, finishing with a final layer of noodles and sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top, then sprinkle on the panko breadcrumbs and mist lightly with nonstick spray.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until all the cheese has melted and the top is lightly golden. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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