Saturday, January 21, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

We had dinner at Foodie’s house on Wednesday – always a treat – and she made Butternut Squash Lasagna. The particular lasagna calls for a Béchamel Sauce to moisten the layers so what better source to consult about this classic velvety blend of butter, flour and milk than Ms. Julia Child. Julia explains that “Sauce Béchamel in the time of Louis XIV was a more elaborate sauce that it is today. Then it was a simmering of milk, veal, and seasonings with an enrichment of cream. In modern French cooking, a Béchamel is a quickly made milk-based foundation requiring only the addition of butter, cream, herbs or other flavorings to turn it into a proper sauce.”

Well, Foodie’s sauce was a proper sauce indeed because this lasagna was delicious.

First, I share how to make a proper Béchamel Sauce…according to Julia, page 57.

Sauce Béchamel
“In a heavy sauce pan, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over low heat. Blend in 3 Tablespoons of flour and cook slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes, without coloring. This is now a white roux.

Remove the roux from heat. As soon as the roux has stopped bubbling, pour in 2 cups of heated milk and ¼ teaspoon of salt OR 2 cups of heated chicken stock. Immediately beat with a wire whip to blend liquid and the roux, gathering in all bits of roux from the inside edges of the pan Set saucepan over moderately high heat and stir with a wire whip until the sauce comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring. Whip in salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter or herbs to enrich the sauce.”

If lumpy: Force the sauce through a sieve or whirl it in a blender then simmer for 5 minutes.

Can’t you just hear Julia saying “whirl it in a blender?”

If too thick: Thin out with milk added gradually

If too thin: Either boil it down or add 1 Tablespoon of butter made into a paste with a ½ Tablespoon of flour.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
1 box of Barilla ready-to-use lasagna noodles
One butternut squash or a bag of butternut squash from Trader Joes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4-6 cloves of Garlic
4 cups of Béchamel sauce
Parmesan cheese – enough to use generously between each layer
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
Fresh Sage leaves

Dice the butternut squash and sauté in olive oil and garlic until slightly caramelized. Add chicken broth to moisten, cover and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes depending on how large the diced pieces are. When done, mash with fork.

Place a layer of squash in the bottom of a baking dish, add the noodles, then butternut squash, top with several spoonfuls of Béchamel sauce, but do not completely cover the squash, top with parmesan cheese. Repeat. End with Béchamel to cover the noodles. Top with mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and sage leaves and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

A little fancy and full of flavor. Plate with a lovely Caesar salad and a nice bottle of red wine. For dessert, pumpkin bread….

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