Fall is the perfect season for root vegetables, and butternut squash is one of my favorites. I love cooking it over a low flame with salt, pepper and chicken broth. Once the chunks of squash are soft, I mash them into a thick pudding-like side dish. It's good paired with baked chicken and green beans. Unfortunately, my family members are not fans.
Recently, I discovered Butternut Squash Lasagna, where the squash serves as the noodles. My family enjoyed this dish, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.
1 tablespoon olive oil
a small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound ground beef
a small butternut squash
14-oz jar of tomato sauce (or make your own)
3/4 cup roasted red bell peppers
shredded cheddar cheese on top (optional)
Step One. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft, then add the ground beef. Cook it all together until the meat is completely browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step Two. Peel and seed the squash. (I know, it's a pain, but it's worth it). Using your steady hand and a good, sharp knife, slice the squash into long, slender strips. Don't worry if they curl up a bit. Set aside.
Step Three. Put the fresh basil, sauce and bell peppers in a bowl and stir gently to combine.
Step Four. Layer the sauce mixture, beef and squash in a baking pan. (I use the Pampered Chef Rectangular Stonewear Baker, which I also used to make Cousin Buck's Ribs.) Layer the sauce first, then add squash, then beef. There should be enough to do this twice, ending with beef and sauce on top so you don't burn the squash.
Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
Here's how it turns out.
You may have noticed that there's no cheese here. Well, we're trying to cut down. I think you'd be perfectly safe adding ricotta as a layer, and adding shredded cheddar on top too. It's nice to know that my family can enjoy an Italian dish without cheese.
I think I may have baked it for a bit too long, so watch the oven closely for the last 10 or so minutes. The squash came out perfectly tender and delicious. Since my whole family loves Italian food, they enjoyed this with a tossed salad.
Leftovers are easy for them to prepare as a quick lunch or snack in the microwave, supporting my intention that everyone can feed themselves well without having to look for me.
Question: I love butternut squash and am always in the mood for new ways to prepare it. Do you have any? I'd love to hear your suggestions and what works for you and your family.