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Posts Tagged winter squash

Roasted Winter Squash and Leek Soup

2-3 small winter squash Sweet Dumpling or 1 large butternut
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus a bit more for rubbing on the squash before roasting
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced (white part only) (Save the greens for the stock)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot (for stock), peeled and roughly chopped
4 parsley branches for stock, plus 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
6-8 fresh sage leaves (or a pinch dried)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or a bit of fresh thyme, if you have it on hand)
2 quarts water for stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. cream or half and half (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Cut squash in half.  Scoop out seeds and strings and set aside.  Lightly rub squash with olive oil, then place cut-side down on the foil-lined baking pan.  Roast for approximately 30-40 minutes.  You’ll know it’s done when a fork  goes through it easily.

Meanwhile, take the seeds and strings you set aside and put them in a large saucepan or small stock pot.  Add about a cup of the green part of the leeks (rinsed and chopped roughly), 1 chopped carrot, the 4 parsley branches and a teaspoon of salt.   Add 6-8 cups of water.  (You will need 4-5 cups of stock for the soup.  I usually like to make a bit more stock than I need so I’ll have extra, either to thin the soup with if necessary or to use for something else like risotto.)   Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for approx. 30 minutes (or until your squash is roasted and you’re ready to make the soup).

Strain out the vegetables and set the broth aside. While your squash is roasting and your stock simmering, you can start the vegetables.  Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the leeks and onion.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic, making sure it doesn’t brown or burn.  Add the diced potato and your herbs (parsley, thyme and sage).  Once your squash is out of the oven and cool enough to touch, scoop the roasted squash out of the skin and add it to the onion/leek/garlic/potato.  (Make sure the burner is on low while you’re doing this so nothing sticks or scorches.)  Then add about 4 cups of stock to the pot.  If it looks too thick, you can add another cup.  Bring to a boil, then lower and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, I puree the soup in the pot with my immersion blender.  You could also use a regular blender or a food processor if that’s what you have.  (But really, if you plan on making a lot of soup or sauce in the future, an immersion blender is an invaluable kitchen tool.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you want to add a bit of cream or half and half, it’s a delicious variation. You can also thin it further with more stock if it’s still too thick.
A few notes: use whatever squash you have on hand.  If you only have a big butternut squash, use that–the only difference is that you might have to let it roast longer in the oven.  If you’re not partial to sage and parsley, feel free to change up the herbs.  Squash goes well with ginger and lemongrass and Asian flavors also, for example.  If you don’t have any leeks, use 2 or 3 onions instead.  If there are no leek greens in your in your stock, then use an onion there as well.



Winter Squash Lasagna with Kale, Sage, and Caramelized Onions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 once your sauce, onions, noodles, are prepared

For the Béchamel sauce:
2-3 T olive oil
3 T flour
3 c milk
30 or so fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 t dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced

Warm the oil in a small pan. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk together. Whisk in the milk 1/2 cup at a time and allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Reduce the heat to low and add the sage leaves and rosemary. While this is infusing, sauté the garlic briefly in a little olive oil, and then scrape every bit of it into the sauce. You can either leave it on very low heat or turn the burner off while you do the rest of the prep.

For the fillings:
1 large onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
olive oil for the pan

In the same pan you used for the garlic, heat a bit more oil and add the onions, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with a little salt. Let the onions cook very slowly and stir frequently. When they are full of caramel goodness, add the kale and two tablespoons (or so) of water. Cook until the kale is bright green and wilted and the onions are as done as you’d like them to be.

1-2 pounds of baked/roasted winter squash
1 -15 ounce tub of ricotta (I used part-skim)

puree the squash using whatever equipment you like–I used an immersion blender. Add half the ricotta and mix together. Either salt or pepper to taste, or leave this plain, depending on your reaction to the side note below.

Side note: at this point in the prep I had a moment of reckoning. The squash by itself was perfect, sweet and delicious; with ricotta added, it was starting to taste like pumpkin cheesecake, and I sampled a lot more than was strictly necessary. I didn’t add anything else to the squash mixture because I thought if there was some left over, it would become scones or muffins or something with a ginger snap crust. As it turns out, I have 2 cups in the fridge. That’s just a tip from me to you, if you have more like 2 pounds of squash and a sweet tooth.

1 lb.  lasagna noodles, boiled in salted water, follow package directions
1 half pound of good smoked Gouda cheese shredded
half a brick of firm tofu (optional)
1 t dried sage
1/2 t dried thyme
Mix about half the shredded Gouda with the remaining ricotta. Mash the tofu and combine well. Add spices and stir.
To build the lasagna:
Spray your lasagna pan with non-stick spray (or oil it lightly). Pour a scant third of the béchamel into the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread a layer of the squash on top of the noodles, then the ricotta mixture, then onions and kale, then a little shredded cheese. Repeat this sequence once. Add another layer of noodles and pour the remaining béchamel over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining Gouda, and bake for another 15 minutes.

Add a layer of roasted tomatoes if you have them to add a little more flavor and moisture.
Some recipes also add a little cooked and drained sausage.



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