Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chicken, Roasted Butternut Squash and Feta Lasagna

The first time I made this dish, I was skeptical.  I'm typically not picky with food, but when it comes to the basics, I don't like to mess with a good thing.  I grew up eating mom's lasagna and didn't think that anything would compare.  So, I bought the ingredients, invited friends over and started on this recipe that I hoped wouldn't ruin my "good cook" reputation with my friends.  When I told my friends what we were eating, they also seemed to be a bit hesitant to trying a strange twist on a classic dish.  However, it was a hit!  This is one of the recipes that continues to come up in conversations and I constantly get asked for the recipe.  The sweetness of the squash, saltiness of the feta and creaminess of the cheese sauce, make this dish is near perfect!

2 cups butternut squash (peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup white wine
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken (cooked and shredded) **I use a rotisserie chicken, because it already has a lot of great flavors cooked into it.  Just pull all the meat off of the bones.  I also use the bones to make chicken stock for another recipe later.**
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 pound lasagne noodles (cooked)
1 cup feta (crumbled)
1/2 cup mozzarella (grated)

1. Toss the butternut squash in the oil along with the salt, pepper and rosemary to coat.
2. Arrange the butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 20-30 minutes and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
7. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
8. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.
9. Mix in the chicken and set aside.
10. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is nice and bubbling and it has turned a light golden brown.
11. Mix in the flour and let simmer until it returns to a light golden brown.
12. Mix in the milk, nutmeg and cheese and heat until it thickens.
13. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish.
14. Place a layer of noodles followed by 1/2 of the tomato sauce followed by 1/2 of the feta followed by 1/2 of the butternut squash followed by 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Repeat a second layer in the same fashion and top with a final layer of noodles, the remaining bechamel sauce and top with the mozzarella.
15. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling, about 30-45 minutes.

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