Sunday, November 24, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Have you ever cooked a dish that took way longer than you expected? The first time this now-funnily-but-then-frustratingly happened to me was my junior year in college when boldly attempting a Jamie Oliver lamb dish that ended up taking five and a half hours. (I think it was similar to this one.) Yeah, we ate dinner at 11:30 that night. But it was worth it.

I'm definitely better at anticipating prep and cook times nowadays, but for some reason it took me over two and half hours to make this butternut squash lasagna. When I thought, Tops, maybe a little over one.

But, again, it was worth it. And maybe you can chop up butternut squash faster than me, and perhaps also without breaking a sweat? You win then. Maybe the moral of this story is that when recipes take way, way longer than you expect, they will always be amazing? Yep, mm-hmm, I'm sure that's it.

3.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
9 lasagna sheets (the no-boil kind is fine)
1 1/3 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat butternut squash in oil and spread in one layer in a baking pan. Season with salt, and then roast for 10 minutes. Then stir and flip the squash before roasting for 10 more minutes, until tender. Remove from oven.
2. Bring milk to simmer with rosemary and heat for 10 minutes. Pour milk through sieve into a bowl to extract rosemary when done. Set aside.
3. Cook garlic and butter in a saucepan over low heat until softened. Stir in flour and cook for 3 more minutes. Pour in milk and heat for 10 more minutes while whisking until thick. Then stir in butternut squash, and some salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Cover with 3 lasagna sheets. Spread half of remaining butternut squash sauce over sheets and top with 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat with one more layer of sheets, sauce, cheese, and end with a final layer of lasagna sheets.
5. Beat heavy cream and salt in a mixer until soft peaks form. Completely spread cream mix over final layer of lasagna sheets and top it all with the remaining 1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
6. Reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes, until golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

(Adapted from Gourmet)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This and That

An infinite staircase.

Can you read people's emotions? (I got a 29 out of 36.)

So dorked-out excited about the Doctor Who Christmas special.

Bunny alarm clock.

Pumpkin s'more doughnut muffin.

15 recipes every parent should know.

(Game of Thrones print image via Nan Lawson)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Throw a Proper Friendsgiving

Every few years, our group of friends will throw a Friendsgiving. Not to be confused with actual Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is held in the weeks leading up to that feast-filled Thursday in November.

Everyone brings one or two dishes and multiple bottles of wine. Games are played. Merriment is had. It is very much like Thanksgiving, but extract all the family drama* and just add in extreme fun. (*If you don't have any family drama, then just add in more extreme fun on top of all the other extreme fun you're already having with your functional family. I am sure you are well-adjusted and probably pleasant to be around.)

In honor of Friendsgiving, here are some tips for organizing:

1. Timing: Pick a date when everyone is still in town and not feeling guilty already about eating too much over the holidays. This is key. Holiday fatigue could ruin your Friendsgiving. People might just show up with a variety of kale salads, and everything will be for naught. (For naught in this context means too healthy.) Early to mid-November is best when the Halloween candy is gone and cravings for sweet potatoes start to surface.

2. Potluck it!: Assign or distribute dishes and make sure all important ones are taken, like the ever essential turkey and should-be-a-staple creamy macaroni and cheese with pancetta and bread crumbs. This will prevent overlaps and make it clear that picking up chips and salsa from the grocery store is not contributing to the potluck. Also, offer to help any friends that hate to cook with their dishes or even pick out a can't-fail recipe for them, like mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.

3. Dietary restrictions: Have options for everyone: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. A non-stuffed friend is a sad friend on this holiday.

This will essentially be the best potluck you will ever throw because Thanksgiving food makes people happier than anything else in the universe and your friends are the most awesome people on the planet. Enjoy!

(Image via Pinterest)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Somm Documentary

Chris and I finally got around to watching the documentary Somm this weekend (while drinking a lovely bottle of Barbera del Monferrato), and I recommend it to anyone who likes wine even the teensiest bit. It follows four guys studying and training to pass the Master Sommelier exam. Which is a crazy, intense test!

The doc is awesomely on Netflix now. Here's the trailer:

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