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Butternut Squash and Basil Bechamel Lasagna

13 Jul

I’m not a huge lasagna fan mostly because I don’t like red sauce so I decided to try this vegetarian version. Also, I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so it was perfect! 😉

Butternut Squash and Basil Bechamel Lasagna

adapted from Batter Licker

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (1½ to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 c. 2% milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
8 oz. (approximately 12) no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. grated Parmesan

1)Preheat oven to 400F
2)Toss cubed squash with oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper, and pour onto baking sheet. Roast until squash is tender, approximately 25 minutes.

3)Remove from oven

4)Transfer squash to food processor, and blend until smooth, adding another 1/2 c. water to help the blending process. Season roasted butternut squash puree to taste with additional salt and pepper, and set aside.
5)In medium pan over medium heat, melt butter. Meanwhile, heat milk in microwave (about 1 minute) or saucepan until hot. Once butter has melted, add flour, and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, whisking often, until bechamel sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in nutmeg.

6)Transfer half of the sauce to a food processor (if using blender, allow to cool before blending). Add basil, and blend until smooth. Return basil sauce to remaining bechamel sauce in pan, and stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7)Preheat oven to 375F, and place rack in center of oven.
8)Lightly butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Spread 3/4 c. basil bechamel sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Spread 1/4 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. mozzarella. Drizzle 1/2 c. basil bechamel over the mozzarella.
9)Repeat layering 3 more times.

10)Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
11)Remove foil cover, and sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top of lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until sauce bubbles and cheesy top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Allow to cool before serving.

Bon Appétit!


Quinoa Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fennel

1 Jun

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. It is so delicious and healthy and I have been searching for the perfect quinoa recipe. Most I have tried just haven’t made the cut. But after trying this one, I fell in love. It is an asian tasting quinoa salad with mushrooms and it is delectable. 

Quinoa Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fennel

Adapted from Diana Takes a Bite
Serves 1

¼ cup quinoa
½ cup chicken broth
1 clove garlic
½ cup thinly sliced fennel
½ cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 sliced green onions, both white and green parts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Finely grated zest and juice from 1/4th a lime
Olive Oil

1) Rinse the quinoa under cool running water, then drain well with a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Heat a wok (I used a large frying pan with no problem) over medium-high heat and toast the quinoa, shaking the pan frequently, just until the grains dry, are just beginning to color, about 4 minutes.

2) In a small, lidded pot, bring ½ cup chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 15 – 20 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Remove from heat and set aside.

3) Meanwhile, heat the wok again over high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and heat until it just begins to simmer. Stir in the garlic and fry, stirring constantly, just until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds (the garlic can burn quickly). Remove the garlic, keeping the oil in the pan, and set aside.
4) Add the fennel to the oil and fry, stirring or tossing frequently, until it is caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oil and set aside. Add the shiitakes to the oil and stir-fry until caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the green onions in with the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry just until the green onions begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mixture and stir or toss to combine. Add the quinoa, fennel, garlic, parsley, cilantro, lime zest and juices and mix together. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit!

I paired it with Stir-Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic.