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Roasted squash adds dose comfort to fall lasagna

Cool, crisp mornings tell us autumn is in the air. The welcome change in season makes us crave the culinary equivalent of a soft cozy sweater. How about caramelized roasted butternut squash with browned butter and rosemary infused creamy bechamel sauce layered with an abundance of gooey mozzarella cheese? This the most blissfully autumnal lasagna ever. Each bite a forkful of comfort.

This recipe is vegetarian making it perfect for meatless Mondays. If you wish to add meat, I suggest cooked and crumbled Italian sausage or turkey Italian sausage.

To maximize savings for this recipe, get a whole squash rather than precut butternut squash. To prepare the squash, cut off both ends and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. A paper towel will help hold the slippery little devil. Slice it in half the long way, remove the seeds with a spoon then slice or cube the squash.

One cool thing about this recipe is the roasted squash, browned butter and the bechamel sauce can be made and enjoyed individually all season long.

Bon appetite!

ROASTED BUTTERNUT LASAGNA WITH BROWNED BUTTER AND ROSEMARY

Time: 2 hours

Yield: 6-8 servings

What you’ll need:

For the squash:

1 3/4-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the bechamel sauce:

4 cups milk

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1/3 cup butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

To assemble the lasagna:

12 pieces lasagna pasta

3 cups mozzarella, shredded

3/4 cups Parmesan, grated

Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cover a large shallow baking pan with foil and cooking spray. You may need two pans depending on size. Toss squash with oil until coated and spread in one layer in pan(s). Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft and caramelized.

After you remove the squash reduce oven temperature to 350 F.

Meanwhile, heat some well-salted water for the pasta. Boil pasta for 7 minutes. Drain and lightly coat with oil to prevent them from sticking.

Make the sauce: In a saucepan, simmer milk with rosemary for 10 minutes, stirring often. Strain through a sieve.

While that’s happening, heat another saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter. Whisking constantly, cook butter until bubbly and little brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat; add garlic, whisking for an additional 30 seconds. Place back on heat and, whisking constantly, add in flour and cook roux about 3 minutes.

Whisk in milk mixture in a slow stream until smooth. Add Parmesan, nutmeg and salt. Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Assemble the lasagna: Toss the cheeses in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping.

Butter or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel. Lay three noodles side by side on top of the sauce. Cover with one-quarter of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the cheese mixture, then arrange one-third of the squash in a layer.

Arrange more noodles on top and repeat the layers twice more (noodles, bechamel, cheese, squash).

Top with the last three noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.

Cover dish with foil, tented to prevent it from touching the top layer. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden.

Let lasagna rest 5 minutes.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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