Ottolenghi’s Butternut Squash Lasagna Pie

This special pie was the perfect way to use my CSA butternut squash and the very last leaves of my homegrown basil. The incorporation of cumin and coriander seeds gave it a unique flavor profile. Fancy comfort food. 🙂

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yotam Ottolenghi. Lovely.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For the Pie:

  • 4 T olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan (I used cooking oil spray on the pan)
  • 10 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 T cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 T coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
  • 1 (9 to 12-ounce) jar red peppers, drained
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, halved, deseeded and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (I used a mandoline to slice the squash)
  • 8 ounces dried lasagna noodles, each roughly broken into 3 or 4 pieces (I used oven-ready no-boil lasagna)
  • 7 ounces baby spinach (10 lightly packed cups)
  • 1 packed cup basil leaves, torn in halves
  • 1 cup crumbled Greek feta
  • heaping 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For the BĂ©chamel:

  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 5 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan then line it with a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the base and hang over the sides by a couple inches. (I used cooking oil spray.) Place pan on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to a small frying pan and heat over medium. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring until fragrant but not browned.
  4. Add the tomato paste, cumin, coriander and chile flakes and cook for 1 minute more, stirring often, until deeply red. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Add tomato paste mixture to a small food processor with the red peppers, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper; blitz until smooth. (I did this in 2 batches.)
  6. Empty the mixture into a very large bowl and add the squash slices, lasagna pieces, spinach, basil, feta, Parmesan, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper. Use your hands to make sure everything is nicely coated.
  7. Transfer this mixture to your lined cake pan, adding a third at a time and pressing lightly to ensure everything is even and compact.
  8. Using heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap the cake pan all around until tightly sealed, place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
  9. Toward the last 15 minutes of baking time, make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking steadily, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it starts to smell like popcorn.
  10. Slowly pour in the milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking with each addition until fully incorporated.
  11. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use a spatula to stir and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to ensure the bottom doesn’t scorch, until nice and smooth.
  12. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. *If the pie isn’t done, cover the top with a piece of parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming. The béchamel is easier to handle when warm; if needed, reheat gently with a splash of milk to loosen.*
  13. After the pie has cooked for 1 hour, remove it from the oven and carefully unwrap the top foil and paper, crinkling it down and around the sides of the pan to expose the top.
  14. Spoon the béchamel on top, using a spatula to distribute it evenly over the surface. (Take care not to mix it with the base; you want the béchamel to remain white.)
  15. Turn the oven temperature up to 450 degrees, preferably on convection, and place the cake pan back on its baking sheet and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until nicely browned on top.
  16. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  17. Carefully release the pie from the springform pan, loosening the outer ring then using the parchment to help lift it onto a serving plate or board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a classic Greek dish with layers of pasta, meat and tomatoes seasoned with cinnamon, topped with a béchamel sauce. It is so tasty!

This recipe is from “At Home Cafe” by Leslie Carpenter and Helen DeFrance via Martha Stewart Living. I substituted ground turkey for ground beef and modified the proportions. We ate it with a big green salad. Fabulous.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 to 1.25 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more for cooking macaroni
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk (1 quart)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • basil or parsley, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (I used a large stainless all-in-one pan.)
  3. Stir in ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. If using beef, drain all but 1 tablespoon fat.
  4. Add tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Uncover, and simmer for 15 minutes more. Remove from heat; set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add macaroni; cook until al dente. Drain macaroni; set aside.
  7. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. (I used the pasta pot.)
  8. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
  9. Increase heat to high, and while continuing to whisk, add milk and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat.
  10. Beat eggs in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of hot cream sauce, being careful not to scramble eggs, then beat egg mixture back into cream sauce.
  11. Whisk in 3/4 cup Parmesan.
  12. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  13. Add half of the macaroni. Cover with 1 1/2 cups cheese sauce.
  14. Spread meat-tomato mixture evenly over.
  15. Layer with remaining macaroni; sprinkle with feta cheese.
  16. Top with remaining cheese sauce, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  17. Bake in oven until golden and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes, prior to serving. Garnish with herbs, if desired.

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