Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

HeadersThe weather the past week or so around here has been out of this world! In Wisconsin, weather fluctuates pretty extremely. One day could be 70 degrees and then you get snow the next.  It’s a lot to handle sometimes.

You know what’s not hard to handle? This super duper easy and even more super duper delicious lasagna. It’s simple to make and a nice mix up from tomato sauce lasagnas.

I love to stock up on winter squashes and hoard save for use throughout the winter and spring. Some of them I chop and freeze (really just the butternut to have on hand for recipes) but mostly I just leave them in a cool, dark, dry place and I’ve never had one go bad before I get to use it.

These flavors will warm you from the inside out and the steps are simple. BONUS for you- in a rare chain of events, I actually documented the process (sort of). Feast your eyes and hopefully later your belly on this:

ONE: combine your butternut squash filling ingredients in food processor or high powered blender. Blend well until creamy. DSC_0639TWO: combine all of your spinach and cheese filling ingredients in a bowl. DSC_0653THREE: layer and assemble the lasagna. Follow those “layer instructions” below. DSC_0662FOUR: finish the layers and then top generously with cheese, because #Wisconsin.
DSC_0671FIVE: bake it, divvy up, and devour ❤DSC_0690Oh so delicious. I love nutmeg but some people are not big fans, you can omit if you would like, although I might judge your sanity because it’s so good. I could go on and on, but I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves. Hopefully you make this and love it too!DSC_0705DSC_0723DSC_0706DSC_0749If you’re not drooling now, something might be wrong with you. Here’s the recipe so you can make this for yourself. Recipe Cards

DSC_0762We’ve had a LOT of new views and new subscribers in the past few days because of the love from and a post by Madison Magazine. If you’re a new reader or just popping by, WELCOME! I hope you enjoy taking a peak around Eat Laugh Craft. Feel free to comment or send me messages, I love to connect with all my readers.

xoxo

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Venison Lasagna

Venison Lasagna

I grew up in Wisconsin in a family that hunts deer. Specifically a family that deer hunts to get that delectable venison to eat 🙂 Now a lot of people are totally turned off by the thought of eating venison. If you’re one of those people, we can’t be friends. Kidding. But I’m thinking you haven’t tasted it or that you had a bad deer. Once a deer is over about 2-3 years old, I wouldn’t eat them. From personal experience, younger does taste better, the older you get (such as bucks with huge spreads) the “game-ier” they taste. It’s all preference but this is not actually a post about hunting so I’ll shut up 🙂

My younger brother was gracious enough to give me some of his vension from a kill this year and this is one of the ways I used it. Of course you can substitute the venison for beef if you so choose.

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Yummmmmmmmmm- such good comfort food

Bolognese Sauce
a glug of olive oil
a Tbsp of butter
1 medium onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – minced
2 stalks of celery – finely chopped
2 medium carrots – finely chopped
pancetta or thick bacon cut into cubes
1 # venison, cut into a small cubes
1 cup milk (Full fat will make it creamier but any kind will work)
a glass of dry white wine(to drink while cooking- kidding you actually need it for the sauce. Probably about 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup)
2 cups tomatoes – chopped, with the juice. Or you can use a large can of diced tomatoes too
a sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of vegetable stock

White Sauce
2 & 1/2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour
salt

Lasagna
Either strips of already cooked lasagna pasta or the ready to bake lasagna noodles (*or if you’re Betty Crocker you could use freshly made lasagna noodles- if you do this, we should be friends)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

First make the bolognese sauce, which needs a long cooking time but it really does make for the most tender and succulent sauce, plus you don’t have to cook it all in one session, you could do the first stage in the morning and the final cooking later the same day. It can also be cooked ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen.

– In a large, heavy bottomed pan melt the butter and oil, add the onions and gently saute until they become translucent . Add the garlic, celery and carrots, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

– add the pancetta or bacon cubes and sauté gently for a further two minutes.

– add the venison, a large pinch of salt, some pepper and cook until it has lost its raw red color

– add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has reduced almost completely.

– add the wine, let it simmer until mostly evaporated then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.

– when the mixtures starts to really boil, turn the heat down to low and cook, uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time and topping up occasionally with vegetable stock to keep it from completely drying out. *You could totally speed make this and just cook all together for about 30 minutes to an hour, and it would still taste great I’m sure but you get deep complex flavors the longer you cook it 🙂 *

Next, make the deeelish white sauce;

– warm the milk gently in a saucepan on medium, low heat

– in a another large pan melt the butter gently on a very low heat and once it’s melted add all the flour, stirring it in completely. Cook and constantly stir for 2 minutes.

– take the pan off the heat and add the milk in small measured batches, letting the flour mixture soak up the milk while you stir. Do this slowly and stir continuously while you do so you don’t get any lumps.

– place the pan back on a low heat and stir until the sauce gets a thick and creamy consistency.

Now, let’s build the lasagna!!

You’ll need a large oven-proof dish, you could use a variety but I used a Pyrex 13×9. Pre-heat your oven oven to 375 F.

– smear the bottom of the dish with a little of the bolognese sauce and then place a layer of the pasta sheets on the bottom.

– ladle over a thin layer of each of the sauces, sprinkle with paremsan and a little mozzarella then add another layer of pasta

– continue this until you have used all your sauce, the top layer should be the bolognese with the rest of your cheese.

– bake in the oven until golden and bubbly, this should take about 40-50 minutes.

*Note- if you are using the ready to bake noodles I would probably prepare your bolognese to be a little more liquidy so your noodles cook fully. Or you can add a little tomato sauce/juice to the bottom of the pan before your noodles.

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Get in my bellllllly

Admittedly, not the lowest fat meal in the world- but sometimes you just have to indulge. It tasted delicious!!! Jake was VERRRRRYYYYY skeptical of the venison befor he tried this, but he really enjoyed it and said it tasted like really really good beef. I’ll take it 🙂

Hope you enjoy and of course thanks for checking out my blog!

xoxo

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White Lasagna with Sausage and Mushrooms

I was visiting a friend a few weeks ago and she made a turkey lasagna while I was there and it was deeeelicious! (Bridget if you’re reading this, you inspired me! 🙂 ) So I was telling Jake how it was kind of weird because I have never ever made a lasagna of any kind before by myself. Later that same day we were watching the Food Network (ok I was watching and Jake was in agony, kidding) and the show that was on was making a white lasagna. Jake and I thought it was a sign from God and decided this was the lasagna I should take a stab at first. So here is the 1st lasagna I’ve ever made in my life.

White Sausage & Mushroom Lasagna

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Ingredients

White Sauce:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lasagna:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1.5 pounds bulk spicy Italian turkey sausage
3/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
15 ounces ricotta
1 large egg
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
Coarse salt
1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the white sauce: Bring a medium saucepan to low-medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon; cook for 2 minutes (do not let it color). Add the milk and bring to a boil, continuing to stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in the Parmesan, whisking to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

For the lasagna: In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and cook the turkey sausage until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until golden brown and the turkey is cooked through, 4 to 6 additional minutes. Season with kosher salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Stir well, and then shut off the heat and set aside to cool. (* I added actual real minced garlic to mine to enhance the garlic flavor 🙂 )

In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan, about 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few rounds of cracked pepper. Spread 1/4 cup of the white sauce in the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. Begin layering with 3 noodles, followed with about 1 cup ricotta mixture. Layer about half of the zucchini evenly over the ricotta. Follow with half the turkey sausage and mushrooms, finishing with 1 cup white sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat. Top the second layer with 4 noodles, white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. (Try to tent the foil so it doesn’t stick to the cheese a lot and remove it all from the lasagna when you take the foil off!)

Remove from the oven and remove the foil cover. Heat the broiler to maximum temperature. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 1 minute. Garnish with the parsley.

Because of the cheese and full fat milk, this isn’t the lowest cal/fat meal ever but I feel like the turkey sausage and zucchini make me feel a little better indulging in it’s deliciousness 😉 Enjoy with a nice glass of full bodied Chardonnay or a Rosé now that summer is almost here- and enjoy it!

Thanks for stoping by!

xoxo

G