Cooking Vacations with The International Kitchen: Butternut Squash and Yam Lasagne
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Butternut Squash and Yam Lasagne in Bianco

January 2011

White Lasagna, or Lasagne in Bianco, refers to a specific type of this popular Italian classic al forno pasta dish that lacks tomato sauce. As opposed to the well-known tomato and/or meat version, white lasagna normally features a creamy, melted cheese sauce. January’s recipe of the month is an American variation of white lasagna, meant to capture all the richness and heartiness of the original cheesy dish, yet is surprisingly low in calories and high in flavor. It combines the smooth texture and bright colors of winter root vegetables with the salty, gooey cheese that makes lasagna both an Italian classic and an American comfort food. This New-Year’s-Resolution-friendly dish will keep you warm and satisfied all winter!

Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash
1 ½ large yams
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup reduced fat 2 % milk
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
9 lasagna noodles, fresh, dried, or non-boil variety

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a 9 × 13 glass or ceramic baking dish with non-stick spray or lightly oil.

Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Cut yams in half lengthwise, then widthwise into quarters. Place vegetables onto a large baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lightly oiled, skin-side down.

Brush olive oil onto exposed surfaces of vegetables, excluding the skins. Sprinkle nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cinnamon evenly on oiled surfaces.
Roast vegetables for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until surfaces bubble and caramelize, but be careful not to burn. Let rest until reasonably cool, at least 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooling, prepare the sauce. Heat up milk in a sauce pan over medium/low heat. When the milk is hot but not boiling, stir in 1 cup of mozzarella in little batches, one small handful at a time, stirring to incorporate after each. Turn off heat.

Once the vegetables have cooled substantially to the touch, peel skin away and collect potato and squash in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a spoon or potato masher until smooth. Stir ricotta into vegetable mixture.

In a mixing bowl, combine parmigiano-reggiano and remaining mozzarella.

Prepare lasagna:
Spoon a small amount of vegetable mixture into the bottom of the dish, spread to lightly coat. Layer 3 lasagna noodles, pre-cooked or non-boil variety, to cover surface. Spread another layer of vegetable mixture. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella mixture. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce. Continue to layer in this order, noodles then vegetable mixture then mozzarella mixture, then sauce until you have three complete layers, ending with cheese and sauce on top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.