I don’t lose a lot of things, but recipes are one of them. Not the new recipes that I’m wanting to try but the old recipes that I want to remake. This would probably frustrate me immensely if it weren’t for the fact that I think it’s why I’m comfortable tweaking and reinventing recipes to my own tastes.
It usually goes like this: I get it in my head that I want to make a certain dish. There’s something specific that just sounds good, you know? So I search everywhere for this perfect recipe that I swear I have somewhere. Then, unable to find the recipe I figure…oh well, I’ll just wing it. Enter today’s recipe. The third recipe I’ve done this “ummmm…let’s make it this way…” method to, in just the past month.
The first time I had this dish was at a work-related potluck party. I didn’t make the original myself but I did have the recipe somewhere at one point in time. Gaaa. Anyway, a delicious dish! It’s lasagna-like, but instead of using noodles it uses thin slices of butternut squash. So if you want a jazzy spin on a common comfort food then you’d probably really like this recipe. It also works well to assemble ahead but bake off later. Actually, the more I think about it, this would be the perfect main dish for a dinner party. I always think the more time you can spend out of the kitchen when you have people over the better. So with this you could toss together a salad and premake what I call “caprese on a stick”, an appetizer I saw for the first time at a New Years party this weekend. Simple as the toothpick itself, you layer on a cube of fresh mozzarella cheese, a basil leaf and a grape tomato. Done. Then get the heck out of the kitchen while dinner bakes.
One last note before I post the recipe. I meant to add some lentils into the sauce to get in some protein but, well, forgot. So if you want to make this a true one dish meal, but don’t feel like adding in any meat that would be an option. Just cook them in some broth until soft (but not mushy) and stir into sauce just before assembling lasagna.
Wait…two last notes before I post. I just realized I never took a final shot of the finished product! Whoops. Three missing items in one post. That’s got to be a record of some sort. I probably shouldn’t even post this, buuuuuuut…
Layered Butternut Squash Casserole
- Olive oil
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1/8″ slices
- 1 zucchini, cut into 1/8″ slices
- 28 + 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 15-17 leaves of fresh basil
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add in onion and lightly salt. Saute onions, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In same skillet, add in 2 more Tbsp olive oil, mushrooms and lightly salt. Saute mushrooms until soft, add in garlic, cook for additional 30 seconds then add in crushed tomatoes. Let sauce simmer, uncovered over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
- In 9×13″ baking dish layer ingredients as such: 1/3 of sauce, 1/2 of squash, all of ricotta, 1/2 of basil, 1/2 of mozzarella, all of zucchini, next 1/3 of sauce, other 1/2 of basil, other half of squash, last 1/3 of sauce and last 1/2 of mozzarella cheese. You can reserve some of the basil to top the casserole if you want to be decorative.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven, top with parmesan cheese and let sit for 15-20 minutes to cool.