WGN Midday News Segments / Lunchbreak

Lunchbreak: Butternut squash lasagna from Factor 75

Nick Wernimont
www.factor75.com

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Hardware
2” casserole dish
large frying pan
sauce pan
heat resistant spatula
knife
cutting board
peeler
large metal spoon
ladle

Ingredients:
2 large butternut squash
1 large red onion
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 Tbs powered sage
1 tsp granulated garlic
black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 oz parsley
2 oz celery
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2 cups water
1 cup red wine
1 Tbs blend oil

Directions:
This is a very simple and delicious recipe that can be made at home with minimal prep time and execution.  Use your favorite store bought tomato sauce and/or turkey sausage for quicker dish preparation.
First you will want to get your tomato sauce cooking; pick, wash and chop approx 1 oz of parsley.  Celery should also be chopped fine (a food processer works just fine) and this should be about 2 oz, these two ingredients can be kept together on a small plate as they will go into the saucepot together.
In your saucepan on medium heat, add 1 Tbs of blend oil and then 1Tbs of garlic chopped at this point add a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Once the garlic is frying (but not browning) add your parsley and celery, stir and fry for approx 2 minutes.  One cup of red wine is next and let that cook until almost dry.  Add your crushed tomato and rinse out the cans with water (about 2 cups), stir to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring up to a boil and down to a simmer for around a half an hour.
While your sauce is simmering we will make the sausage crumble, in a frying pan toast 1t of fennel seeds on low heat. When they are nicely toasted add your ground turkey, season with a teaspoon of salt, pinch of black pepper and chili flake, 1/2 Tbs of sage powder and 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic.  Cook over high heat stirring occasionally to create a desired crumbled texture to the meat.  Reserve to the side and let cool.  If using store bought sausage remove the casing and fry in the same manner.
Don’t forget to stir your tomato sauce!
Peel your onion and butternut squash, julienne the onion and place in a bowl.  Next peel the squash (you may want to use gloves for this) cut once where the seed pod and the neck separate.  Cut these two pieces in half lengthwise, and using a spoon scrape out the seeds and strings from the seedy part of the squash (just like a pumpkin).  Cut these into half moons about ½” thick and place in a bowl then toss with 1Tbs of blend oil and sage powder and mix until all are seasoned evenly.
By now your tomato sauce should be done and we are ready to assemble the casserole.  Have your onion and sausage next to each other and the tomato sauce next to that with a ladle.  Your casserole dish in the middle with the squash to the other side of the onion, sausage and sauce; this assembly line will make it easy to make our lasagna.  Start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish, then pick out the nice ½ moon pieces of squash and starting in the corner lay them in a shingle like pattern moving north to south until the bottom layer is formed.  Then using your hands (gloves of course!)  take half the sausage and sprinkle it in an even layer, followed by the onion. Ladle tomato sauce in rows over this layer approx 3 ladles.  Next we want to use the thinner part of the squash from the seed pod to build the center layer of the lasagna; arrange them (a little overlap is ok) leaving as smooth of a surface as we can, then repeat our sausage and onion sprinkle and sauce layer.  Finally we should have enough of the nice 1/2 moon pieces to form another shingle layer for the top.  Cover with remaining tomato sauce carefully filling in holes and making a nice smooth layer for the presentation side.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake in a 425 oven for approximately 2 hours (depending on your oven).  Test the center with a probe (your clean knife will work just fine) when our lasagna is done the probe should slip in as if it were wet sand, a little resistance but no real pressure exerted.  Let cool and cut to desired size.
Accompany your Butternut Squash Lasagna with a nice bitter greens salad or sautéed greens like kale, chard, spinach, etc

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