The Squash Project Finale: A really easy lasagna

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my speckled hound.
Speckled Hound Squash

When I sliced him open, he smelled like a fresh cantaloupe.

I was intrigued.

Here is what the CSA said about the speckled hound: Orange with blue-green blotches, Speckled Hound pumpkins are prized for their dense, buttery yellow flesh; they are ideal for roasting, soups, and more!

If you have been keeping track of the “Ooh Squash for dinner!” project- perhaps you’ve been wondering what happened to #4. Well he sat in the cupboard until after new years. I thought about new years resolutions.
Last year I decided to compost. This year, I decided to empty the compost more often. I thought about some other unfinished business and my speckled hound came to mind.

Here is what we did with him:

Squash Lasagna

Easy Lasagna with a Speckled Hound Squash

Do you see that? It looks like a big cheesy mess? It’s not. It’s creamy squash. And it’s delicious.
That is a photo of the second piece. We ate the first serving with such gluttony I had to grab this photo the second time around.

I really hesitated to make squash pasta. It seemed like a cop-out, like when you hide greens in your mac & cheese.
I will do this again.
I will even venture out and buy a squash to make squash pasta.
Do not hesitate.
Squash lasagna has all the creamy decadence and richness of a cheese lasagna without the disheartening stomach ache at the end of your meal.

There is something so completely satisfying about squash, that I’ve only learned through my squash project. Squash gives you an incredible warm tummy feeling. After adding my puree to red lentil soup, stews, making gnocchi, adding some squash wontons to a miso broth, each time, I always finish my meal and go “ahhhh”.

This is the recipe that got me started:Food and Whine: Butternut Squash Lasagna
and here is the other that inspired me: New York Times-Recipes For Health: Roasted Kabocha Squash Lasagna
See my recipe below for how the whole thing ended up.

If you think of traditional lasagna you have layers, and then a tomato sauce. I deliberated over whether my squash should be a filling or a sauce. Turns out this really isn’t as important a debate as I was making it out to be. Your squash is going to be a sauce and a filling. I know, sounds crazy, after all if using tomato sauce, you would not very well make one layer of your lasagna out of tomato sauce.
Squash is a different beast. It is a sauce and a filling.
As a sauce: I’ve warned that squash puree has a lot of liquid that it will ruin a dish such as gnocchi. Well, here, your squash puree liquid turns your no-boil noodles into a work of art.

As a filling: My key ingredient, sundried tomatoes added to the squash puree layer. These became what would be your meat layer in a traditional lasagna. What the sundried tomatoes contribute to this dish is a surprisingly smoky meaty texture, like chorizo.

You will need:
*1/2 box No-Boil lasagna noodles (I used the Pasta Zara brand)
*A handful of sundried tomatoes
*1 squash, roasted with 1 garlic bulb (or leftover squash puree!)
*1 500ml container cottage cheese
*Fresh Herbs (I used rosemary, sage, thyme)
*a bit of parmesan
*Optional: Bechamel sauce, or just use some nice fresh buffalo mozzarella

      . Otherwise just top with a bit more squash sauce, but after all, this is a lasagna and the cream really ties this all together.

    • Roast your squash at 350F with a bulb of garlic until soft enough to poke with a fork. Cool, and puree with the roasted garlic and a bit of sage.
    • Mix your cottage cheese with herbs.
    • Chop up some sundried tomatoes.
    • Assemble:
      Cooks note: As noted in the NY times recipe, you will want to leave space between your lasagna noodles since they will swell up as they cook.
      -Bottom layer: squash puree and sundried tomatoes.
      -Second Layer: cottage cheese mixed with herbs.
      -Third Layer: squash puree and sundried tomatoes.
      -Top with the final noodles, and with some parmesan, bechamel or fresh mozza.
    • Bake at 350F for 45 min. Uncover for the last 15 or so to get the cheese nice and bubbling and golden.
    • If you have squash puree in the freezer, you can have this in the oven in about 5 minutes and sit back and relax while one of the best lasagnas, let alone, squash (!) recipes cooks into perfection. You can also assemble ahead of time and freeze up to month (per NY Times).

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2 Comments to “The Squash Project Finale: A really easy lasagna”

  1. This looks amazing! I’ve still got a few squash in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve and a box of lasagna (sadly, not no boil) noodles in the pantry, so I’m in. I love cottage cheese and love including it in pasta–nice to see it here.

  2. liking the slide show as well as the recipe

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