Don't get me wrong, I love lasagna - cheesy, tomato-y, noodle-y lasagna. Even better, all the wine, bread and salad that always seem to accompany it. Wow, are you starting to salivate like I am? Yikes. I love the traditional lasagna, but I am always looking for ways to spice it up and to step away from the tomato based sauce (as much as a I love it). I really wanted to make something new and something that screamed fall.
A couple of weeks ago, Ryan and I took our friends Matt & Lauren (hiiiiii!), up to Apple Hill and then we came back to my house for dinner that night. Since I knew we would be gone all day, I wanted to make something that I could put together the night before and then just pop in the oven while we were all hanging out and relaxing. The first thing that came to mind was lasagna. You can make it ahead, you can freeze it for another time - lasagna is the perfect make ahead meal for tomorrow or for a month from now (that is your tip of the day). I knew I would make my grandma's lasagna recipe for the boys, but I wanted to make a super scrumptious vegetarian lasagna for Lauren. I thought I could just do the same one I was making for the boys sans meat, but I wanted to step it up. No plain jane lasagna here. Let me just make it clear that my grandma's lasagna is not plain jane. It is amazing, but I will explain all about how to make her recipe later this week. It's another must make. Yum!
I was doing my normal nightly blog reading and came across the ultimate fall vegetarian lasagna - roasted butternut squash & sweet potato lasagna. Seriously - how good does that sound? This recipe called for no-boil whole wheat noodles, but I ended up using brown rice (gluten free) lasagna noodles. Whole Foods was out of them, and I shockingly found them on sale at my local Safeway. If you are trying to eat gluten-free, these noodles are great and I am sure you can find them at your local store. Lots of stores these days are selling brown rice noodles as well as all other varieties of gluten-free products. They cook up just like regular lasagna noodles, but still have a slight bite to them. Not crunchy. More like al dente. I like my noodles that way. No one likes a soggy noodle.
With roasted fall veggies, sage, mascarpone and shallots what is not to love? I give this one two thumbs up. It's rich, but it is so good. Next time I make this, and I will be, I will be having a small piece with a big salad and a glass of pinot grigio. I think that would be perfect. The recipe says it could serve 2-4 for a main meal or 4-6 for a side dish. I think the 4-6 size piece would be perfect. Maybe that is just me though. Once you take a bite of this, you may want to eat the whole pan. At least I did. Mmm crispy sage.
|roasting those veggies|
|here are the brown rice noodles that I used. You can use any noodle you have or want|
|butter, garlic and shallots. best smell ever.|
|sauteed garlic and shallots mixed in with mascarpone. I could eat this with a spoon or spread it on bread. YUM.|
|look at those layers of goodness|
|post baked. look at those crunchy edges. I would just eat those.|
Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Lasagna (from www.howsweeteats.com)
9-12 whole wheat lasagna noodle sheets (preferably no-boil)
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups cubed)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups cubed)
12 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a bunch of sage leaves
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350 degree
For squash & potatoes: Lay cubed squash and potatoes on a baking sheet, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil (only about 1-2 teaspoons). Use your hands to coat the squash and potatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast for 50 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, mash with a potato masher or fork. After mashing mine, I actually used a hand mixer with beaters to “whip” them a bit more, but that isn’t necessary. The consistency is up to you. Just make sure it is spreadable.
For mascarpone filling: Heat a skillet over medium heat and add butter. Add in shallots and garlic, and whisk every 30 seconds or so for 2-3 minutes. The butter should brown and the shallots and garlic should be fragrant. You don’t want the butter to burn – if it seems too hot, reduce the heat. If it does burn, start over (sorry – totally worth it though!). Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, combine mascarpone, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, remaining salt and pepper, and the shallots, butter and garlic. Mix until somewhat smooth and spreadable.
Layer lasagna: Spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick spray, then lay 2-3 (depending on size/brand) noodles down. Spread half of the squash mixture evenly over top, then spread/crumble half of the mascarpone on top of that. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and remaining parmesan on next, then repeat with one more set of noodles, squash, mascarpone, and cheese.
Top the dish over with a bunch of sage leaves that will crisp up in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
There is not much else to say other than go make this now. Run. Wait, now that I think about it, this might be a great dish to throw in some of that extra thanksgiving turkey into if you want to add in some more protein. Right in between the roasted mash and the creamy cheese layer. Ya. That sounds fantastic. I might have to try that out. I bet it would be great with a little cranberry sauce on the side too. Oh no, here comes the saliva again.