November 06, 2008

Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard White Lasagna





Ingredients:
1 medium to large butternut squash, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 lb lasagna noodles
olive oil

for the filling:
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


for the sauce:
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
white pepper




Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Brush the butternut squash with the additional olive oil. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the insides. Mash. It should yield about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of squash. Set aside.


Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets until ready for use.

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion until fragrant, then add the chard and sage. Saute until the chard is soft. Allow to cool slightly then combine with the ricotta, nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

For the sauce: In a medium pan, melt the butter. Add the flour along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, garlic and whisk until smooth. Add the milk and whisk together until slightly thickened. Stir in Parmesan.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 375. Spread some sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Top with noodles then layer with a layer of squash then the chard-ricotta mixture and drizzle with sauce.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

Repeat until the pan is full, then top with a final layer of noodle, the remaining sauce and Parmesan.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

Bake covered for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to sit about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna



My thoughts:
I had never made a non-tomato based lasagna until this one but it turned out really well! I just sort of made it up as I went along to use up some Swiss chard I didn't have earmarked for anything special and a butternut squash I've had for ages but the flavors came together wonderfully. It is a great way to use seasonal ingredients in different way than they are normally found. It also freezes well.



Note: To cut down on some of the prep time you could roast the squash the night before and just let it warm up a bit while you make the sauce before spreading. However, the squash roasting is pretty hands off so it is easy to do that while you are making the cheese mixture.

I don't buy into the whole "no boil" lasagna noodles are just as good as the regular kind propaganda at all. It doesn't take that long to boil them and you will be in the kitchen anyway so why not just boil the noodles? I have had success freezing boiled lasagna and large shell shaped pasta for future use. I just freeze them in a single layer before transferring them to a freezer container

31 comments:

  1. This looks awesome!! I'm not sure if I like Swiss Chard - I may just have to give this a try :)

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  2. This looks great. I love the flavor combination and that it freezes well. And it looks more virtuous (read: Healthy) then standard lasagne

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  3. I'm always looking for good non-tomato lasagna variations, because I have one friend who's allergic to tomatoes, and a vegetarian! Will bookmark.

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  4. I love the sound of this. Great combination.

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  5. That swiss chard filling looks soooo good

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  6. Boy, does this look tasty! I will definitely give this recipe a try.

    Thanks for all of your unique ideas!

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  7. Fantastic recipe for Autumn! I really like white lasagna and LOVE Butternut Squash...Thanks for sharing :-)

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  8. This looks amazing! And perfect timing, I happen to have a butternut squash and sage and spinach on hand (I like chard, though). I think I'll make this tomorrow.

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  9. The colours in that lasagna are lovely! I love the idea of using butternut squash. This sounds like a combo I'd hear of for ravioli, so I love the idea of making it as a lasagna instead.

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  10. Beautiful! I love creamy lasagna sauces. I used to do a pumpkin lasagna roll recipe with similar flavors. You've inspired me to dig it up and convert it to gluten-free.

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  11. i've been wanting to make a butternut squash lasagna for ages! hopefully this will kick me in the butt to making one. it looks great!

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  12. Really excellent photos of this dish Rachel! Lasagna can be a real pain to photograph.

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  13. Wow! This is new and different. I'll have to try this. :)

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  14. This looks really great! And I love the photos!

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  15. I made pumpkin lasagna recently, but I'll have to try yours. Butternut squash is a favorite veggie. Beautiful photos too!

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  16. This looks really delicious! I love non-tomato lasagnas and I've really been digging squash and pasta lately...
    I'll have to make a double batch and freeze some, as you suggest!

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  17. i think ill substitute the spinach instead of chard, although there isnt a huge taste difference, but spinach i could buy more easily frozen in my local store

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  18. i think ill substitute the spinach instead of chard, although there isnt a huge taste difference, but spinach i could buy more easily frozen in my local store

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  19. I am eating this as I type, and it is fabulously good! I'd probably add more salt to the recipe, but that's only because I prefer saltier foods. This is a perfect lasagna for fall!

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  20. I completely agree about no-boil noodles... have the time they end up tough. The lasagna looks great. I love the freezing tips!

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  21. I'm interested in making this tomorrow night, but I've never been fond of the ricotta lasagna filling (I know, I know)... what do you suggest as substitution? Cottage cheese, or is that a no-no?

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  22. Candi- I think cottage cheese would be fine. When I was growing up we always used cottage cheese in lasagna and it worked perfectly well.

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  23. Beautiful, elegant lasagna. Love the filling!

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  24. I'm so happy to see this as I've been thinking up something very similar- only in a manicotti. I love the flavors, and it's nice to have a white sauce for a change.

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  25. This sounds really good. I bet the chard and the squash really balance each other out nicely!

    I agree on the noodle thing.. but because I feel its a nicer packed lasagna with the soft noodles...

    really nice job!

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  26. Another tasty and creative way to use butternut squash! I bet the sweetness of the squash tastes amazing against those delicious cheeses! I usually use spinach in lasagnas, but swiss chard is so much more exciting :).

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  27. Would you please elaborate on why you consider no boil lasagna noodles inferior?

    I have used both over the last 20 years and have yet to see a problem with no boil. Additionally, I have worked in several restaurants where no boil lasagna noodles are used without a single complaint from a customer.

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  28. Well, Allie, they just aren't very tasty-the texture is very different and inferior to real, quality pasta. I can always tell when someone has used the "no boil" pasta and the dish always suffers. I have served lasagna to many people who have previously only used the "no boil" and they are always amazed at how much better the dish made with actual, boiled noodles tastes.

    Additionally, one needs to add more moisture to to the lasagna if using the "no boil" noodles which in this recipe (and others) is impossible without severely effecting the taste and integrity of the dish. Some recipes even call for water to be added to the dish! Why would I want to water down a quality sauce just to "save" a few minutes? At the very least, you need a very wet sauce to moisten them or they stay a little crunchy and/or chewy which I find makes for a messy, unappetizing looking lasagna.


    Finally, I am not convinced they are time savers, which is the only reason I could imagine someone would use them. If you are making the sauce and a filling, the boiling of noodles is easily done at the same time. It isn't as if boiling noodles is difficult or even requires any real hands on time. Not once have I made a sauce and filling in less time than it took to boil pasta. As I said if one absolutely cannot boil fresh noodles each time, make a double batch and freeze it-the texture and flavor are much closer to that of real pasta than the "no boil" kind.

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  29. I made this and it was wonderful.
    I did use no boil noodles from Trader Joe's (from Italy) which are thinner than the ones I've seen before. Not usually a fan of the no boli, but these worked out well, perhaps because of the thinness. Making the Tortilla Soup next.
    Love your blog!

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  30. Delicious, inventive recipe! I made it, and loved it!

    I like my food with spice; so I added chopped garlic and a little ground adobo to the chard filling; gave a rich, rounded taste.

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