Mariel here. This past weekend, I spent some time down in Charlotte celebrating the engagement of my best friend…I just happen to be her maid of honor so it was an event I couldn’t and wouldn’t wanna miss. Unfortunately, the weather here in NYC had other plans. As many of you no doubt know, we had a freak snowstorm on the eastern seaboard that has left many of us right coasters without power for upwards of a week (fortunately, we were spared that particularly pleasantry). As we taxi’d down the runway on Saturday morning, our flight was unexpectedly called back to the gate to be de-iced before finally taking wing. Once we hit the jet stream, things got really rocky – the turbulence was so bad that I actually broke down and cried, something that hasn’t happened on a flight since I was a little kid. Despite all the hullabaloo, we landed safe and sound in North Cackalacky and were only a little behind schedule.
When we returned on Sunday morning, I was exhausted. But between all the excitement of the engagement party and the melting October snow, I was also kinda wired, in that empty, jittery kind of way. So while my husband vegged out on the couch and watched football, I decided to soothe my nerves with a sojourn in the kitchen, enlisting seasonal produce to conjure up a rich and hearty take on classic lasagna.
This isn’t a dish for the frazzled, frantic or otherwise distracted – it takes patience and attention but it’s time well-spent. I individually tended to each constituent – the acorn squash, the onions, the zucchini and prosciutto were all prepped separately to coax out their unique, inimitable flavors – and then, at the end, they were layered in what can only be described as a glorious fall medley. This saves beautifully for up to a week and I actually prefer it on day two, after everything has a chance to settle. It’s my new favorite way to do lasagna and it feels kinda good-for-you since it’s loaded with so many good-for-you foods.
Harvest Lasagna with Roasted Squash and Caramelized Onions
Ingredients for Acorn/Butternut Squash:
2-lb Acorn or butternut squash, halved and de-seeded – $2.00
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter – stock
2 Tablespoons honey – stock
1 teaspoon salt – stock
Ingredients for Caramelized Onions:
1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped – $1.75
2 teaspoons olive oil – stock
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar – stock
Ingredients for Yellow Squash and Zucchini:
1 yellow squash, sliced into ¼-inch slivers – $1.00
1 green zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch slivers – $1.67
2½ Tablespoons olive oil – stock
2½ Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar – stock
2 teaspoons honey – stock
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard – stock
Dash of black pepper – stock
Remaining Ingredients for Lasagna:
4-oz thinly sliced prosciutto – $4.99
15-oz part skim Ricotta – $3.49
1 cup of freshly shredded parmesan, divided – $2.99
2 eggs – stock
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced – stock
Salt & pepper – stock
24-oz jar of tomato sauce – $2.49
¾-cup chicken stock – stock
Lasagna noodles, uncooked – $1.79
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $22.17
Cost per serving: $1.84
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. After halving the squash and removing any seeds and strings, place in a roasting pan, cut side up (PS, you can roast winter squash seeds like pumpkin seeds, so save ’em!). Fill the pan with a ¼-inch of water. Smear the squash flesh with butter, then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt, allowing excess to accumulate in the well.
3. Roast the squash for 1 hour.
4. After you pop the squash into the oven, prepare the onions. Combine all onion ingredients and caramelize over a medium-low flame for about 55 minutes, stirring frequently and adjusting the flame as necessary to avoid burning the onions. You’ll bring them to a nice golden color and they’ll be very tender and sweet by the end of it.
5. Next up is the zucchini and yellow squash – slice into ¼-inch slivers. Whisk together the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard and pepper in a small glass dish, then spread the zucchini and yellow squash slices onto a large baking sheet. Brush each side of the slices with the Balsamic dressing (you’ll likely have leftover dressing) and roast with the acorn squash at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until they start to crisp up. Set aside and allow to cool.
6. The prosciutto: Spread the prosciutto on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes, until it crisps. Set aside.
7. While the acorn squash finishes cooking, combine the ricotta, 2 eggs, 2 garlic cloves, a dash of salt and pepper, any leftover Balsamic dressing from the zucchini and ½-cup of the shredded parmesan in a medium bowl. Set aside.
8. Combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in another bowl, set aside.
9. Once the acorn squash is done roasting (and is nice and tender), remove from the roasting pan and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before attempting to handle. Once it’s cool, peel away the outer skin and chop into chunks. The onions should now be done as well, remove from heat and set those aside.
10. Spray a glass casserole/baking dish with Pam and assemble the lasagna. Start with a thin layer of marinara sauce, then a row of uncooked lasagna noodles, followed by more marinara, then half the acorn squash, a third of the ricotta mixture, a third of the zucchini, a third of the onions and a third of the prosciutto then top with another row of noodles. Repeat once more. Then create the top layer, which goes like this: tomato sauce, zucchini, ricotta, onions, prosciutto then the last ½-cup of freshly-shredded parmesan.
11. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting, this allows the cheese to thicken and congeal.