Farmers Market Meals: Squash Lasagne

Suppose you help organize a harvest cook-off and come home with a forty pound Italian heirloom Long of Naples squash. What do you do with your green submarine besides soup?  Turn it into lasagne of course.  Oh, and then roast and freeze the other 36 pounds of it for pies and muffins later on.  

My friend Rachel told me that she and her husband finished off an entire pan of this squash lasagne (below) the first time they made it.  It's darn tasty.  I've recommended adding another few cups of cubed squash (especially if you have an additional thirty five or so pounds of squash or pumpkin). I used whole wheat noodles and I've upped the garlic and parsley, and doubled the amount of sage.  This rich and hearty casserole is perfect for personal winterizing, and it is delicious with a salad or a side of steamed spinach and some spicy, crisp radishes. 

My brontosaurus of the squash world came from Tantre Farm. (You think Hubbard is big? It's a mere triceratops).  I got the Long of Naples squash about about a week before we picked up our 65 pounds of Tantre's Thanksgiving farm share - their final distribution for the year. Sniff.  Getting that beautiful box of Thanksgiving vegetables is a day of ambiguous feelings. Thrilled with every lovely thing that's in the box, and also knowing that it's going to be another half year before we'll get another installment.  But just like Persephone with her pomegranate, now I've got the rest of that squash in the freezer to  keep me going all winter.  I'll be looking for squash recipes in between wistful thoughts of asparagus and rhubarb.  

This version of  Squash Lasagne from uses as many local and organic ingredients as I could find. The whole dinner was under $5/serving with (cheap, but good) wine.  

For squash filling
1 large Tantre organic onion, chopped  ($.50)
3 tablespoons Calder unsalted butter ($.35)
4 lb Tantre organic squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces  ($4.00)
2 teaspoons Tantre organic minced garlic ($.25)
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped organic fresh flat-leaf parsley ($.50)
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (free - garden)
1 cup organic  pecans, coarsely chopped (optional, add another $2.50 if using)

For sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced Tantre organic garlic ($.25)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted Calder butter ($.35)
  • 5 tablespoons organic Westwind Milling all-purpose flour ($.65)
  • 5 cups Calder milk ($1.68)
  • 1 bay leaf  ($.02)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

For assembling lasagne
  • 1/2 lb S. Serra mozzarella, coarsely grated ($2.35)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano ($2.50)
  • 12 sheets whole wheat lasagne - 1/2 lb. from By the Pound ($1.79)

Make filling:
Cook onion in butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts. Cool filling.

Make sauce while squash cooks:
Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. (Cover surface of sauce with wax paper if not using immediately.)

Assemble lasagne:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3-quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets (I never cook them first, just make sure the pan is tightly covered with foil when you bake), leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of filling, then sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce, and remaining cheese.

Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagne in middle of oven 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Meal Cost
8 Servings Total= $15.69    $1.96/serving

Organic Frog Holler Spinach
4 Servings Total=$3.00  -  $.75/serving

Total -  $2.71/serving

Add radishes and glass of Gewurtraminer for an additional $2.25/serving. The wine really adds to the bill (even though it's a cheapo bottle as wines go), but still nothing like what a restaurant meal would cost. Cooking at home=saving money.  Even with what's supposedly the snootiest food around.  Tell me again how local, organic food is not affordable to the average eater? 

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