We’re almost running out of dark days around here – just a couple more weeks and the time changes again. Which means more fun trying to keep a toddler on some kind of schedule…
The challenge for this week involved making something vegetarian. My response to that was a creamy vegetarian lasagna with home-grown butternut squash, oyster mushrooms from Killbuck Valley, and some arugula that we picked up at the market on Saturday. Oh, and the noodles were homemade. And so was the ricotta.
Making everything from scratch can be kind of time-consuming, so I did what I could in advance. It was well worth it though. As is always the case with these meals, everything is locally produced, minus the salt and pepper.
For the noodles, I used the same basic recipe as always. Roll out the dough (I kept them just a little thicker than I would for a linguine or spaghetti), then do a rough measure based on the pan you’re using (9 x 13), and cut to size. A pizza slicer worked perfectly, but you could also use a sharp knife, or if you have one, one of those little fluted-edged rollers. I didn’t care about appearance, so I just left some of the edges rough, as long as they were approximately uniform.
For the filling, I sautéed the squash (1-2 cups), mushrooms (1-2 cups), and arugula (1 medium bunch) in a bit of butter, then added some sage, thyme, and a little salt and pepper. I love the smell of butternut squash with sage and butter… I also had about 2 cups of ricotta that I made the night prior.
When everything’s ready, go ahead and start layering (the noodles don’t need to be boiled if they’re fresh). I did grease the bottom of the pan before the first layer of noodles, but if you’re making a standard meat lasagna, you’d ordinarily just put some sauce down first, no greasing. So, lay the first noodles, about three or four, depending on how wide you cut them. Crumble about half of the ricotta over the noodles, then spoon half the squash filling over that. Put another layer of noodles down, then repeat with the cheese and squash. You can go as high as your noodles and filling will let you, but I stopped at three. Because I didn’t want my noodles to be naked, I whipped up a quick cream sauce to ladle over the top while baking.
Cover with foil, and bake at about 350 F for 35-40 minutes. Take the foil off, and bake for another 10 – I just turned the oven off and left the lasagna in.
This was quite delicious, and the slight chew of the noodles was great – nothing mushy about this lasagna.