Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

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With Thanksgiving in a mere 2 days, I decided to make my favorite go to dish, Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna, adapted from Martha Stewart Living.  I didn’t fiddle with the recipe (adding this, subtracting that) as the recipe is phenomenal as is. Creamy, decadent, and filling, this will add a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table if you’re vegetarian or you’re just not that into turkey.

This lasagna, like most lasagna recipes requires a bit of prep.  However, I really enjoy the prep as I tend to zone out so to speak.  I grab a glass of wine, turn on my fav tunes, and begin ceremoniously chopping, mashing, stirring, frying until I get to what all that was for.  The assembly line of noodles, squash, ricotta, repeat and so on.  The finale of it all of course, is a golden brown, cheesey, masterpiece that will look awesome on your holiday table, but also weekend dinners.

Once the lasagna is complete, serve alongside a nice crisp salad, and enjoy.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna//makes 8 servings
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

lasagna
3 ½ pounds butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-pound whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
½ pound fresh mozzarella, grated, about 2 cups
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
4-oz finely grated parmesan cheese
1 package lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

While, squash is baking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes.  Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. 

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Combine ricotta, heave cream, egg yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Season with salt.

Pour olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add sage and cook until gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash ½ of it with the back of a wooden spoon until smooth, leaving the other ½ in whole pieces.  Alternatively, you can place ½ of the squash in your food processor and pulse until smooth.  Gently stir in the crispy sage and stock.  Season with salt and pepper.

For the assembly, spread ¾ cup of ricotta mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish or 9x13 inch rectangular baking dish.  Top with a layer of noodles.  Spread ½ of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles.  Top with a layer of noodles.  Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles.  Repeat layering (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta).  Sprinkle parmesan over ricotta mixture and top with additional mozzarella cheese. 

Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.  Serve.

Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg & Dukkah

Part IV: On-The-Go Breakfast Series 

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Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg, & Dukkah

Yes, it’s Avocado Toast and I’m in love with it!  It’s not only my go-to breakfast food but it’s my go-to lunch on the weekends and a quick snack whenever.  This is a breakfast food that should definitely be in your on-the-go breakfast rotation.  I encourage you to make this on your own as Avocado Toast has grown in popularity so much so, that you can order it at the trendiest of restaurants and pay the trendiest of monies for it.  How do I know?  Because I have…. for research purposes only though!

To make this ambrosia, food of the gods as it has been euphemistically referred to, you need just avocado, toast and your imagination.  My avocado recipe consists of sun dried tomatoes, a poached egg, grain bread, and my new favorite seasoning, dukkah.  It’s a party in your mouth with a wonderful marriage of flavors.  It is packed with the nutrient potassium and it contains those heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.  The good fats. 

Avocado toast is customizable.  You can go plain avo, toast and sea salt or as I said, let your imagination take over by adding thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, feta cheese, corn and so on.  It’s an empty palate waiting for you to go wild.

So, tell me, how do you avo your toast?  Let me know.

Enjoy!

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Avocado Toast w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Poached Egg, & Dukkah//serves 1

2 pieces whole grain bread
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 eggs, poached
½ cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 large ripe avocado, sliced or mashed
2 tablespoons Dukkah, optional
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Fill a large sauce pan with water and add vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmering.  Crack in both eggs and cook for 2 ½ minutes.  The eggs should be oval and still loose in the middle due to the yolks not being set.   Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Toast your bread.  Spoon the sun-dried tomatoes onto each slice of bread.  Next, slice or mash your avocado and arrange on the toasted bread.  Place the poached egg atop of each slice and sprinkle with dukkah, salt and pepper. 

The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice

Check out my Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice guys!  This weeknight recipe is a quick and healthy version of the Classic Chinese take-out.  My version is loaded with a powerhouse of vegetables such as boy choy, red cabbage, carrots, shitake mushrooms and asparagus.  This is my go-to weeknight recipe for the fam.  There are never left-overs and I find myself throwing this into the dinner rotation at least every other week, varying the vegetables. 

Also, with the summer heat, do I really want to turn on the oven?  I think not! So, stove top cooking is the way to go.  This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes.  All you need to do is prep your veggies in advance and let the countdown begin.

This is the veggie version of fried rice, but feel free to add your favorite protein such as shrimp, chicken and tofu.  This recipe is so customizable it screams do what you want with me.  Yes, I said that! The meal is bright and colorful, so you’re totally eating the rainbow.  It’s nutritious and will instantly become a part of your weeknight rotation.

Isn’t that what a weeknight dinner is supposed to be?

The Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice//serves 4

3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon oil (sesame, coconut oil, etc).
2 eggs, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 medium sized onion, diced
3-4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small head cabbage, shredded
½ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
4-5 boy choy, stems and leaves thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin

Heat a wok or frying pan to medium high heat until hot.  Add ½ teaspoon oil and swirl around wok.  Add beaten eggs and swirl around to coat bottom with a thin layer.  When the egg is set, with a rubber spatula, roll the egg into an omelet and transfer to a plate to cool.  Wipe out the wok and return to the heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add minced garlic, grated ginger and diced onion.  Cook stirring often, until onions are translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant.  Add your vegetables and salt and cook, stirring often until vegetables are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to a bowl.  Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to work, and place 3 cups of the rice into the work.  Spread the rice out evenly and allow rice to sit for about 5 minutes.  This will help brown the rice on the bottom.  Add the vegetables to the brown rice along with the tamari, rice wine vinegar and mirin.  Stir all together until well incorporated.  Add more tamari to taste if you’d like. 

For the egg omelet, slice and place atop of veggie fried rice.  Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.  Garnish with cilantro, Thai chili peppers or Sriracha.