This was MY week to choose the recipe for our weekly challenge. Pasta is one of my favorite things, so I chose a recipe that I had gotten in the mail from Kaiser Permanente. I found it on their website too. It is intended to be a healthy recipe, but a lot of additions and substitutions can be made to make it more rich (aka fattening).
I have made the lasagna several times, but this time I decided to do a "taste test" - healthy vs. less-healthy. I made two small batches of the lasagna, one exactly according to the recipe and one with a few additions - fresh mozzarella cheese, amaretti cookie crumbs, and sauteed pineapple sage. I did use non-boil noodles, though, to make it go a little faster.
The sauce has simmered, and I have just added the seasonings:
Here is version #2 before I put the last layer of noodles on top:
Here is version #2 right out of the oven:
Now you can compare the two (at least visually). While the healthy version was really good, the second version with the additions of fresh mozzarella cheese, pineapple sage, and amaretti cookies was outstanding!
Squash & Leek Lasagna
Author: Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough
Grated butternut squash, pine nuts and sautéed leeks in a creamy white sauce are layered with sheets of whole-wheat pasta for this wintery variation on a vegetable lasagna. Any Parmesan cheese can be used in this casserole, but we recommend Parmigiano Reggiano for its superior flavor.
Yield: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 3/4 hours
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Make Ahead Tip: Bake, let cool for 1 hour, cover with parchment paper then foil and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat, covered, at 350°F for 1 hour, then uncovered for 30 minutes more.
10 ounces lasagna noodles, preferably whole-wheat
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large or 5 medium leeks, pale green and white parts only, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups nonfat milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and grated using the large hole side of a box grater (I used my food processor to grate it, and it was a breeze)
6 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated using the large hole side of a box grater
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, (see Tip)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot and cover with cool water.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the leeks; stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk in a slow stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in thyme, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Remove from the heat.
Assemble lasagna in the prepared baking dish by layering one third of the noodles, one third of the sauce, half the squash, one third of the cheese, half the remaining noodles, half the remaining sauce, all the pine nuts, all the remaining squash, half the remaining cheese, all the remaining noodles, all the remaining sauce and all the remaining cheese. Cover with parchment paper then foil.
Bake the lasagna for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbling and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving (or follow make ahead instructions).
Tip: To toast pine nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Per serving: 277 calories; 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 2 g mono unsaturated fat); 19 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 6 g fiber; 464 mg sodium; 514 mg potassium
Nutrtion Bonus: Vitamin A (150% daily value), Calcium & Vitamin C (30% dv), Iron (15% dv)
2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 high-fat meat