I had a plan to make spinach and butternut squash lasagna roll-ups last week. But then I decided to add chicken so that Jasper would be more likely to eat it (note that this plan failed, ha). And then I thought it would be good to make my own spinach whole wheat noodles, which turned out to be too fragile to roll up, especially with the heavy chicken added. So it turned into a regular layered lasagna instead, and I'm not even sad. The colors were so pretty, and it was gooey and cheesy and filling.
So here's where I made a mistake - I thought I would be clever and puree the spinach in the food processor instead of the blender before adding in my flour in order to reduce the number of dirty containers. Except that the food processor didn't really puree the spinach very well. I even had a moment where I stopped and thought I should transfer it to the blender and decided against it, *sigh*. All those little flakes of spinach made the dough very fragile and difficult to work with, but I stuck it out.
The noodles turned out fine (and they certainly tasted good) when cooked, but they were still too fragile to roll (and not very pretty).
So I just layered them instead and all was well. Now, remember earlier this week when I talked about having leftover butternut squash? Well, this is where it went. I pureed the roasted squash and shallots together to make a sauce. A little of that went on the bottom of the pan, then a layer of noodles.
Next went a layer of ricotta, Parmesan, and spinach topped with shredded rotisserie chicken.
Then another layer of noodles, butternut squash puree, and shredded mozzarella cheese. And repeat!
Bake until heated through, then broil the cheese until it browns and bubbles - yum!
With double the spinach and homemade wheat noodles, this thing is almost as healthy as it is delicious. You could even do reduced fat cheese if you wanted (not non-fat, never non-fat). And simply omit the chicken to make it vegetarian! Have I run out of ways to put butternut squash in pasta? I don't know, we'll see.
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna with Homemade Spinach Whole Wheat Noodles
a Well Dined Original
lasagna noodles, storebought or homemade (recipe below), cooked
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and pepper
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 deg F. Toss the squash and shallots with a drizzle of olive oil and salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer so the cubes aren't too crowded and nestle in the thyme. Roast the cubes for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the thyme, transfer the squash and shallot to a blender, and puree.
Combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, and egg. Season with salt and pepper (and more nutmeg, if you like).
Lower the oven temperature to 350 deg F. Spread a small amount of the squash puree into the bottom of a lasagna pan. Layer 2 noodles on top. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then add half of the chicken. Top with another layer of noodles, half the remaining squash puree, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers once more, adding 1 cup of mozzarella to the top.
Cover with a sheet of oiled or buttered foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, place the lasagna under the broiler and turn to LO. Broil, watching carefully, until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Homemade Spinach Whole Wheat Noodles
adapted from Food Storage Made Easy
yields approximately 8 lasagna noodles
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup semolina flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup whole wheat flour
Place spinach, eggs, olive oil, and salt in blender and puree (make sure it is really pureed and not just chopped).
Place the flour in a food processor, pulse once to aerate, then add the spinach puree and pulse to combine. Remove the dough and knead on a floured surface until elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into fourths and work one section at a time, keeping the rest covered until needed. Flatten one piece slightly and roll through the largest setting of a pasta roller. Fold into thirds (like an envelope) and pass through again. Repeat. At this point, the dough should be a fairly wide rectangle. Pass through the widest setting once more (without folding), then lower the setting by one. Pass the dough through each subsequent setting twice until the desired thickness is reached. I go to about 2/3 of the way (4 out of 6) for lasagna. The dough should be quite long, cut in half to better fit the pan. Repeat until all the dough is rolled out, draping the completed noodles over a colander or pasta rack.
Boil the noodles (2 at a time) in salted water for 1-2 minutes, then shock in ice water. When all the noodles are cooked, remove carefully from the ice water and lay on wax paper until needed.