Archive | October, 2013

Spinach and Ricotta lasagna roll ups with Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce

28 Oct

So, about the title. Ya, that is a mouthful and a half. However, I feel like it all needs to be outlined in the recipe title, because you don’t want to forget critical bits of information. Like the spinach. The fact that it’s not layered lasagna, but lasagna ROLLS. And that there is a sauce of squash, not tomatoes. Oh, and it has roasted garlic in it. One cannot forget about the garlic.

I originally saw this post over at Skinny Taste and thought wow, what an awesome way to get some more veggies into a meal and I happened to have some butternut squash on hand.  It was meant to be. Now, obviously I adapted this recipe so it didn’t turn out quite as healthy and lower fat as hers, but it’s pretty damn amazing. I always use full fat cheeses, and freshly shred my own. Why you ask? Because I don’t like that they have to do something to take the fat out of a food. Plus, the flavor is so much richer with a full fat cheese. Why shred your own cheese? That way I don’t get an extra helping of cellulose fibers (what they use in pre-shredded cheeses to keep them from sticking). It doesn’t take a huge amount of extra time to bust out the box grater and shred some cheese for a recipe.

Since there is some extra prep work to this recipe with the roasting of the squash and garlic, I like to roast the squash/garlic over the weekend and puree the sauce so that this can be a quickly assembled weeknight meal.

If you end up without enough cooking liquid left over after you roast your squash, add in some chicken stock until it reaches your desired consistency. Mine turned out kind of like pumpkin pie mix prior to adding the milk, but after the eggs and sugars are added if that helps to give you a visual. You could totally go thinner if you like, but I wanted it to be a bit thicker.

The flavors of this recipe really work well together, and all the fiber you get from the squash really helps make it a filling dish. I will certainly be making this one again. It was worth the effort of roasting my squash, and the roasted garlic gives the sauce a nice depth of flavor that you just wouldn’t have if it wasn’t part of the recipe.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! The photos below do not do it justice. Seriously. Just make it. The hubs only gripe? No meat. So leftovers will be provided with some turkey meatballs. Because they are good too.

squash roll done

Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Butternut Squash Sauce

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce Ingredients: 

2lb butternut squash, cut in half with seeds removed

1 head garlic, top cut off

¼ cup parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper to taste
Lasagna Roll ingredients:
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and cool enough to touch

1 ½ cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained

30oz ricotta cheese

1/2 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese

1 egg

½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

¼ cup freeze dried chives

¼ cup parmesan cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow baking sheet, place your butternut squash halves skin side up. Add 1- ½ cups water to the pan and put in oven. Roast for 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

While your squash is roasting, put your head of garlic in a small oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Place in the oven with the squash and check on at 20 minutes. Garlic should be fork tender, with the tops of the cloves nice and brown.

Once your squash is cooked and your garlic roasted, let cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh from the squash and squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a medium mixing bowl. With an immersion blender, blend until the mixture is smooth. Add in the cooking liquid from your baking sheet, stirring to combine until the mixture resembles a very thick sauce. Stir in parmesan cheese, and season with salt & pepper to your liking. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spoon a thin layer of the squash sauce, setting the remainder of the sauce aside.

In another clean mixing bowl, add in all of the lasagna roll ingredients, with the exception of the noodles. Stir until combined.

squash roll pre assembly

Lasagna roll assembly:

Lay out a piece of waxed paper to keep noodles from sticking to the counter. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture to the center of the noodle, leaving 1 inch of the noodle end free of the ricotta mixture.

squash roll ricotta mix

 

Roll noodle up and place seam side down into your baking dish. Continue until all noodles are filled.

squash roll sauce

Top noodles with the remainder of the squash sauce, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover your pan with foil. Bake in your 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Serve immediately, along with some crusty bread and nice big salad.

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The DIY Life: Arugula Pesto

22 Oct

So, um, wow. I haven’t blogged for over a month. Now that I’ve had this epiphany, I feel it’s a little ridiculous because I’ve been cooking my ass off making all this from scratch food. Lots of squash type dishes. Complete with photos. And yet, not a blog post to be found for over a month. Damn.

Well folks, don’t you worry your pretty little faces off anymore. I am back. I have recipes out the wazoo. But since it’s been so long, I wanted to start off simple. With a different twist of pesto sauce. Most of the time when you think of pesto, you think of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Which is delicious and simple in its own right. BUT…what if you were to try a pesto made from peppery arugula, mixed with salty parmesan and nutty roasted almonds?!?!?!? Have I blown your mind yet?!?!?!? It’s a simple list of ingredients, and the only other tool you need to make this is a food processor. And like, 5 minutes. Really. I made a bunch of this and froze it into cubes so that I could use it on pizzas, in sauces, or as a cooking medium for chicken. It’s pretty versatile. And tastes wonderful. For reals.

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Arugula Pesto

7oz bag of arugula

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup olive oil

2oz toasted almond slivers * see notes below on how to toast

Add your arugula, cheese, almonds and salt to a food processor and pulse until combined. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to add the arugula in batches (I did). Once all of the arugula has been processed, turn the processor on and slowly pour in the olive oil until combined. Use immediately on whatever tickles your fancy, or freeze for later use.

Spoon into ice cube trays and let freeze until solid. To remove cubes. set the ice cube tray in a shallow dish of hot water to loosen up the pesto cubes. Place in a freezer safe bag or container and use as you need to!

Notes:

To toast almonds, put in a dry skillet that has been preheated over a medium flame. Toss around until they start to brown. Let cool completely before adding to food processor.