Simply Healthy Family: Chipotle en Adobo Butternut Squash Lasagna {#12 Weeks of Winter Squash}

27.11.13

Chipotle en Adobo Butternut Squash Lasagna {#12 Weeks of Winter Squash}



























My OCD-ness can be a really annoying thing. Any time I say "This will only take 5 minutes." I find myself analyzing the fine details 90 minutes later in search for the perfect project. This not only goes for blogging which is time consuming pretty much no matter how you go at it but in just about every aspect of my life. Granted I've painfully learned how to choose my battles over the years, especially since having 4 children (if anything can put a cramp in your quest for perfection, it's children.  The dolls.







Another thing that can get a girl to cut her quest for the perfect blog post abruptly short would be that she has a new book series that she's reading {The Divergent series, have you read it?} and a very short window on a weeknight in which to sneak in a page or two without  being interrupted every 3 1/2 minutes and maybe stay awake long enough after the kids have gone to bed to read an entire chapter. We won't discuss how much of the fine details I retain. Names elude me in real life, characters in books are difficult to commit to these days.


Unless of course it's a brand new (in my world anyway)  hot teen novel that involves drama at every turn of the page and Love at First Site, can't live without you, you take my every breath away even though we are in the midst of a post-apocalyptic, I'm the only one who can save the world sort of state.

It happens.

I may have somewhat of a tough exterior, but I just so happen to enjoy a good 'romance' novel so long as it involves high impact, high stress non-realistic situations which may or may not involve  zombies/vampires or a bunch of gorgeous 16 year old's defending the last of mankind just like any other  respectable women in her 30's does.

Right?


Right.








My point, and I do have one as usual, is that while the recipe process and photography session for this post took many hours of preparation, fine tuning and self scrutinization I'm afraid that I must say good bye quite abruptly….

What? It's too late for that?  Well then please forgive any punctuation or grammar mistakes in this post because I really must go find out what Tris and Four are going to do about the predicament they've managed to get themselves into…… again, with the Euridite and the Candor. This is serious people.





Before I say goodnight I must say that this is any lasagna lovers DREAM!  So not your everyday, ordinary lasagna by any standards, this one packs a punch you won't soon forget. It still has your comfort food qualities except for roasted butternut squash tossed in chipotles en adobo sauce was used in the mix and sweet turkey sausage was thrown in to compliment the smokey heat.


 Really, there are very few words that come to mind to describe how freaking amazing this dish was and I don't use the word freaking very lightly my friends.




Sharp provolone cheese and light and fluffy ricotta really balanced out the heat in this dish. It's like you get a swift kick of smokey, delicious heat on your taste buds and then are swiftly soothed by ricotta's creamy coolness. 








Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapeƱos. Adobo is a tangy, slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple. Use just the chipotles for intense smoky chile heat or just the sauce for a sour-sweet flavor and a slightly less fiery smoky heat.






Apparently, I seem to take for granted the fact that some things that may be "simple" for me in the kitchen are not simple for most of my friends. I named my blog "Simply Healthy Family" because I wanted to share simple, healthy and delicious snacks and meals with everyone, Novice cook, busy parent or anyone looking to expand their current palate or cooking ability. So when I get feedback saying "What the heck is Thyme, Saffron, Quinoa?" etc. I feel like I need to take the time to add in a bit more instructional and informative posts on SHF.



So, for those of you who have ever looked at the winter squash bins in the super market and thought they were purely ornamental, here's to you.

First, they really are super easy to prepare. One of the few fuss free and forgiving vegetables out there. Once you get past your fear of peeling the hard outer peel your good to go!



A veggie peeler won't likely do the job with most winter squash sot grab a good butcher knife and cut off both ends. Stand it on one end and careful cut off the peel. It's really not as hard as you might think. 

Now, cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, discard.




Turn squash over and cut lengthwise into 1 inch strips.





Turn each piece flat and cut off the small 'hook' ends into 1 inch pieces. 





Now, cut the thicker lengths of squash in half, lengthwise again so that they will be uniform to 1 inch size. Cut the lengths of squash into 1 inch square pieces. This will ensure they cook evenly.




For this lasagna recipe, you will need to quickly cook the diced squash somehow. You could throw them into a microwave bowl, cover and cook an high for 5 minutes (I stray away from microwaves if possible partly because of potential nutrient loss and mostly because of definent flavor loss.)

I recommend either roasting them in your already preheated oven for 10 minutes or my preferred method, drizzled with (garlic infused) olive oil and pan roasting them for 7-10 minutes till just caramelized and slightly cooked. 

You will want to pre-cook them either way because they will take longer to cook then the rest of the ingredients.







I had to show you this picture of freshly grated Provolone cheese (Parmesan on the next photo). It may seem like fresh, whole cheeses are more expensive but when you grate them yourself you end up with way more for your money not to mention an incredible difference in flavor to those recipes you put so much time into!!!






No words necessary I think. Here are the layering steps. I just had fun making and photographing it. Silly hobby right?


Sauce on bottom to prevent sticking. 






I used a small amount of sweet turkey sausage in the recipe to satisfy the masses. I like the mild flavor of turkey and loved the way the sweet sausage kept the smokey heat of the chipotle in check. Obviously,  the turkey can be omitted and this will still be a very hearty and satisfying vegetarian meal. I totally dig that.








Finished, beautiful chipotle lasagna. FYI, I made a second lasagna without the chipotle sauce for the kids. It really does pack a punch. Also, I strongly suggest that if your new to spice/heat that you start with a small amount of the chipotle en adobo and go from there.




Ingredients

1 package of oven ready lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. sweet turkey sausage, browned
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1small-medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped as per instructions above
1 can chipotles en adobo sauce
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2, 15 oz. cartons of ricotta cheese
1 1/2 - 2 cups sharp provolone cheese, grated
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Optional:
light sour cream
olives


Putting it all together:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large skillet, brown sausage and onion. Drain and set aside.
Spoon chipotles en adobo sauce in a small food processor, this is where my little manual one comes in very handy, and process till smooth. Place cubed squash into a large bowl and toss with sauce.
Lightly coat a casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer lasagna as pictured above, sauce, noodles, squash and sausage mixture, spinach, cheeses. Repeat. Make sure the top layer is covered lightly in sauce so the noodles can cook.

Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. (remember to pre cook your squash for a few minutes as described above!)

Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with cool sour cream and olives. Don't forget the salad!

Bon Apetite!




Loving this #12Weeks of Winter Squash thing! Week 4 peeps. Thanks again to my friends Heather and Joanne for hosting another swag party!






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3 comments:

  1. This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! What a fun spin on lasagna. And I'm totally with you on buying and grating your own cheeses. So much tastier and not as expensive as you'd think once you use it all up. Plus, throwing the rinds into soup is the best!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh! I never thought of that, great idea Ashley!

      Delete
  2. This is definitely a crowd pleaser. Or at the least, a Joanne-pleaser. I love the chipotle spice!!

    And I totally randomly get engrossed in semi-trashy fiction like that! It's borderline obsessive.

    ReplyDelete

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