Let’s try something different – this recipe doesn’t even have peanut butter in it! Although it sounds like peanut butter would go really well in this recipe, considering there are pine nuts in it. Or at least there should be, but I forgot them. We got the idea for this recipe while strolling through the gourmet market in Grand Central Station in Manhattan. If you haven’t gone, you must. There is an excellent assortment of gourmet food shops – one of which was selling butternut squash, spinach and pine nut lasagna. Rather then shell out $6 a piece, we decided to make it. And now we both like this version of lasagna better than the traditional meat and red sauce kind. Plus, my wife did 95% of the work (a rare occurrence), which makes the whole thing even tastier! It also proves you can’t even screw up this recipe =]
2 lbs cooked, pureed butternut squash and/or pumpkin (any ratio)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
9 gluten-free lasagna noodles or thin-sliced zucchini
2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (any kind)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 grated fresh Mutz (a.k.a Mozzarella)*
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional, since I forgot them)
3 Tbsp butter or substitute
3 Tbsp corn starch
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 shakes of nutmeg
* Note – It’s much easier to grate fresh Mozzarella if you put it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes beforehand (or overnight).
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the squash/pumpkin, garlic and cayenne in a bowl. Combine the spinach, cottage cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese in another bowl. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, but subtract 2-3 minutes from the cooking time.
2. For the sauce, mix the corn starch in a bowl with a small amount of milk. Once mixed, stir in the rest of the milk. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan until it begins to melt, then add the corn starch and milk. Whisk continually until the milk begins to boil. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Lower heat and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes.
3. Using a 9×13 baking dish, pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom, followed by 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of the squash mixture, 1/2 of the spinach mixture and 1/2 of the pine nuts (if using). Repeat, then top with a final layer of lasagna noodles, sauce, Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the cheese on top is lightly browned.