• SQUASH LAYER
  • 1 large cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 12 garlic cloves, unpeeled (about 1 head)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • SPINACH & ONION LAYER
  • 1 large onion, vertically sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages fresh spinach
  • CHEESE SAUCE
  • 5 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded fontina cheese, divided (I used 6 slices of Trader Joe's Fontina cheese, cubed)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated whole or ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • OTHER INGREDIENTS
  • 1 package of good quality prosciutto
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Fresh chopped basil

Tis the season for winter squash! I am a huge fan of all orange colored veggies including butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. If you haven’t already figured it out, I have quite a sweet tooth. Even when I cook dinner, I always crave a salty-sweet combination. I’ve come across various versions of butternut squash lasagna, but I decided to go with a Cooking Light Recipe because I always get such consistently delicious results.

With a few changes of my own, the end result was bursting with layers of flavor. The added layers of prosciutto really kicked it up a notch. The original Cooking Light recipe suggest using  3 noodles per a layer in a 13X9 pan. I used 4 noodles in each layer, but I didn’t think there was enough filling for such a large pan. If I made this again, I would do 4 – 3 noodle layers in an 8X8 pan and if I wanted to use a 13X9 I would double the recipe and add an extra layer.

I love that Cooking Light incorporates fresh herbs and spices, which helps to maximize flavor even when cutting back on unnecessary calories. This dish is definitely not categorized under quick and easy so I recommend saving it for a rainy day when you have lots of time and possibly and extra set of hands. I personally thought it was worth the work so if you have butternut squash lovers in you house, you have to give this a try.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine squash, 1 tablespoon olive oil, sage, garlic head, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange squash mixture on a baking sheet coated with aluminum foil and cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until squash is tender. Cool slightly; peel garlic. Place squash and garlic back in large bowl and partially mash with a fork until smooth but still a little chunky. Make sure the garlic cloves are all incorporated into the mixture to avoid eating a large chunk in the finished recipe.


3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Place onion in a bowl.

4. Add 2 tablespoons water and spinach to Dutch oven; increase heat to high. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain in a colander; cool. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach. Add spinach to onions.


5. Heat 4 1/2 cups milk, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and thyme. Return milk to medium heat. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Add to saucepan, stirring with a whisk until blended with the rest of  the milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, 1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese, parmesan cheese and nutmeg. The cheese sauce should be thick and creamy.
6. Spread 1/2 cup cheese sauce in bottom of an 8X8 ceramic or glass baking dish.  Arrange 3 noodles over milk mixture; top with 1/3 of squash mixture, 1/3 of spinach mixture, 3 slices of prosciutto and 1/2 cup cheese sauce.

Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining milk mixture over noodles. Bake at 425° for  covered with aluminum for 30 minutes, and remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Fontina cheese, 2 slices of chopped prosciutto and fresh basil.
7. Preheat broiler.
8. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Ivy Manning, Cooking Light 
NOVEMBER 2011

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