Apples and squash offer autumnal take on lasagna
AP Photo | Matthew Mead
The traditional flavors of a delicious Italian lasagna — creamy ricotta blended with savory herbs — are wonderfully balanced by harvest fruits and vegetables, including thinly sliced butternut squash and apples. The result is a deliciously sweet and savory main course perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
For ease, the lasagna can be fully assembled then refrigerated a day in advance.
Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (30 minutes active)
32-ounce tub part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled
3 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3/4 cup water
9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups baby spinach
1 pound (about 5 cups) shredded fontina cheese
Heat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, eggs, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice the butternut squash into very thin and even strips. If possible, use a mandoline, if available. Add the squash to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the squash to a clean kitchen towel to drain.
In a medium bowl, mix the apples with the apple sauce.
Pour the water into the prepared pan. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread 1 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with 1 cup of spinach, an even layer of sliced squash, 1/2 cup of the apple mixture and 1 cup of shredded fontina. Repeat this layering 3 more times, skipping the apple in the final layer and ending with a final layer of squash and the final cup of fontina.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese on the top is golden and bubbly.
Allow the lasagna to cool and set up for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 410 calories; 170 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 19 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 105 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 580 mg sodium.