Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

butternut squash lasagna roll ups I’m sorry,  but I’m at it again with butternut squash. I can’t help it, it’s so creamy, delicious and nutritious and it just screams fall to me! Not only that, it’s versatile and can be used in various dishes, just check out my archives for several different ways that I’ve used it in the past.

Sure, I’ve made your typical type lasagna using butternut squash but recently I realized that I never used it in a lasagna roll up.

I’m seriously considering this as my pasta side for Thanksgiving dinner this year, it’s that good!

butternut squash sauce Now lets talk sauce, which is based on a recipe from Chef frank De Carlo, well it just elevates the dish and funny thing is, you don’t really need alot. If you look at my top photo you’ll see I just put a little on the bottom of my baking dish and then I spooned some on top of each roll up, it’s not heavy at all, it’s dreamy!

Infuse some sage into melted butter and shallots, deglaze with broth, whisk in a small amount of pureed squash, add a little bit of cream and some parmesan. This is definitely party worthy!

butternut squash filling Roasted and mashed butternut squash, chopped spinach, a mixture of  ricotta, parmesan and asiago with a slight hint of garlic and lemon zest fills the pasta noodles.

butternut squash lasagna roll upsbutternut squash lasagna roll ups The day I made this my whole family stopped over for one reason or another, I made a big salad to go along with it, and it was devoured in seconds!

butternut squash lasagna roll ups

Great as a stand alone meal right now, but certainly worthy for the upcoming holiday season. I see Thanksgiving side written all over this!
winter squash

Lucky me, I was the recipient of all these beautiful squashes, so no doubt you will be seeing more squash recipes here in the future.

They were sent to me by a wonderful local company called Door to Door Organics, where you can have fresh organic and local produce, plus grocery items delivered right to your home. It’s funny because I had used them myself way before they ever even contacted me.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know how I love my veggies so this offer for me to try was a win win for me! I remember in the dead of winter last year how happy I was to see my order sitting outside my front door. What I love about the company is that there’s is no commitment, you could stop and start whenever you want.

So for all my readers who live in the Chicagoland area and want to give Door to Door Organics a try, here’s a ten dollar off coupon for you on your first order.

Now on to the recipe!

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • 1 good sized butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked butternut squash for the entire recipe, 2 cups will be for filling mixture, 1/2 cup will be reserved for the sauce
  • 1 cup, ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of frozen, chopped spinach, measured after it is drained well
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup of grated asiago
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 or 9 cooked lasagna noodles
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1/2 cup of reserved squash pulp, pureed smoother than the pulp for the filling
  • 2 shallots, or 1/2 of a white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 stick, unsalted butter
  • 1 small bunch of sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup of stock, I used chicken
  • 3/4 cup of cream
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your squash ahead of time. Cut lengthwise, with skin still on, remove seeds and roast the squash, cut side down at 350 degrees until tender and a knife goes through with ease, close to an hour. Let it cool, then scoop out pulp.
  2. FILLING MIXTURE
  3. Mash 2 cups of the squash pulp into small chunks, making it easy for spreading.
  4. Add in ricotta, egg, cheeses,grated garlic, zest, salt and pepper, mix together well, then fold in spinach until incorporated.
  5. SAUCE
  6. Make your sauce by sauteing shallots in the butter with the sage leaves until slightly golden, then deglaze with the broth and whisk in the 1/2 cup of the well pureed squash that was reserved until nice and smooth on low heat.
  7. Whisk in the cream and add the grated parmesan cheese
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  9. INSTRUCTIONS
  10. Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each cooked lasagna noodle, then roll up and place them seam side down on a shallow baking dish that has some of the sauce spooned onto the bottom. Spoon sauce on top of each lasagna roll up, plus grate a little parmesan cheese on top of each.
  11. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, sauce will be set and top will be slightly golden. There should be extra sauce for serving.
  12. This whole recipe can easily be doubled.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/10/butternut-squash-lasagna-roll-ups.html

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Slow Braised Beef Pot Roast, Italian Style

Italian style beef pot roast Tender braised beef soaked in red wine and cooked slow and low on a cold weather day is comfort in a pot! The process of braising is not one to be rushed, this is not a thirty minute meal what so ever. You’ll want to make this several hours ahead of time or better yet, the day before.

The slow method of braising results in deep deep flavors and fork tender meat that melts in your mouth, it’s out of this world!

pot roast ingredients For my Italian style pot roast I like to add Muffuletta, which is a store bought bottled olive salad, it has great flavor, it couldn’t be easier and it enhances the meat and juices perfectly. Red wine, some broth, canned tomatoes, added veggies, lots of garlic, rosemary and thyme complete the flavor profile.

seared beef roast Braising is very economical, you don’t have to use an expensive cut of meat, in fact, I used a chuck roast for this recipe, one that I got on sale at Whole Foods and it was just under three pounds.

I like to stud my meat with slices of garlic all over on the top and bottom, salt and pepper both sides then sear the meat until a nice crust forms, this is a key step in braising.

braised beef pot roast

I can’t tell you how good my house smelled while this was simmering in the oven so you’re going to have to try it yourself. I’m sure you could do this in a crock pot but I rarely use one, I’m more of an oven kind of girl myself. All you need is a nice heavy bottomed pot with a tight lid.

braised beef pot roast As the meat breaks down some fat will accumulate but that’s easy to skim off once it cools down or like I said in the beginning you can make this the day before and then the fat will solidify in the fridge overnight which makes it even easier to remove, that is if you have the will power to wait for the next day to eat it!

braised beef pot roast The juices that become the sauce goes perfectly on top of egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or the favorite in my house, polenta. I like to roast my carrots and eat them as a side dish, a little al’dente, but if you prefer you can certainly cook them along with the other vegetables.

braised pot roast with polenta No matter how bad the weather is outside I guarantee this dish will make you feel all warm and cozy inside.

Slow Braised Beef Pot Roast, Italian Style

Ingredients

  • 1 chuck roast, 2 1/2 - 3lb
  • 1 onion, chopped medium
  • 1 14 oz. can of cherry tomatoes, ( or chopped) including juice
  • 1 container of whole crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small roasted red pepper strips
  • 8 garlic cloves, 6 smashed and 2 sliced for studding meat
  • 3/4 of a bottle of Muffaletta olive salad, drained of excess oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup of broth, I used chicken because that's what I had, of course beef broth would work too.
  • rosemary, thyme
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make slits with a small knife all around the meat then push slices of garlic inside.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan like cast iron that has a tight lid.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom and when almost smoking place meat in and sear it until crust forms on both sides.
  5. Remove meat then set aside.
  6. Add the chopped onion, roasted red pepper strips,6 smashed garlic cloves, a branch of thyme and rosemary and cook until onions caramelize.
  7. Add wine, broth and tomatoes and Muffaletta olive salad.
  8. Nestle your meat right in the center of the liquid, add more rosemary and thyme.
  9. Cover the pot with a tight lid then cook it low and slow at 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, meat must be fork tender.
  10. When I took it out of the oven I placed the mushrooms inside then put the lid back on, they got tender and cooked in a few minutes from all the heat still inside the pot.
  11. Skim off excess fat.
  12. Garnish with parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/10/slow-braised-italian-style-beef-pot-roast.html

 

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Scenes From Chicago Gourmet 2014

Chicago Gourmet 2014 This past Saturday I attended Chicago Gourmet at beautiful Millennium Park, Chicago’s celebration of food and wine.

Chicago Gourmet is a gorge feast of food, wine and spirits, celebrity chefs, live demos, seminars and much much more.

Lucky for us the weather was absolutely gorgeous that day!

opening ceremony Chicago Gourmet Opening ceremonies started out with a champagne toast thanking the presenters, sponsors, chefs and those that worked tirelessly on this event.

Chicago Gourmet 2014 And look who showed up to give the toast, our own Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanual! ( Morimoto and Carla Hall too)

opening ceremony Chicago Gourmet 2014

He was proud to acknowledge how Chicago has excelled in the culinary world with national and international restaurants and chefs, and how honored he is that Chicago will be hosting the 2015 James Beard Awards. Cheers to that!

Chef Bayless I always enjoy the chef demos because the venue is so intimate,it’s like you’re hanging out in their kitchen. In this demo Chicago’s very own, Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill/ Topolobampo/ XOCO made a quick and easy, dynamic green mole sauce and served it over roasted vegetables.

Speaking of vegetables, they’re apparantly trending more and more in restaurants with an emphasis on healthier eating.

Carlos Gaytan Along with Chef Bayless was Chef Carlos Gaytan of Mexique, he created a beautiful seafood tamale.

Stephanie Izard Chef Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat/ Little Goat,  is so laid back in the way she cooks and so at ease in the kitchen, she’s known for her different and unique flavor combinations and she doesn’t really measure as she cooks, she likes to wing it and develop flavors as shes goes, my kind of girl.  No wonder she became a Top Chef winner!

Jamie Bissonnette This dish, a vegetable paella was demoed by Chef Jamie Bissonnette/Coppa, he emphasized using every part of the vegetable, sort of like the nose to tail concept but only for veggies, nothing was wasted and the paella looked colorful and stunning when finished.

Justin Aprahamian James Beard Award winners Chef Justin Aprahamian/Sanford Restaurant ( Best Chef Midwest) and Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr./The Purple Pig, (Rising Star Chef) had a lively demo together featuring caraway crusted sea scallops and roasted garlic and herb salt encrusted pork tenderloin.

Jimmy Bannos Jr.Jeff Mauro Jeff Mauro AKA “Sandwich King” so down to earth, stayed and talked with everyone, still lives in Elmwood Park and actually films his show from there, fame hasn’t changed him one bit and of course he made a delicious foccaccia sandwich.

Chicago Gourmet 2014 There were tastings after tastings of over 190 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs, you couldn’t possibly try everything, you’d explode!

Chicago Gourmet 2014

Chunky crab dip, jumbo shrimp cocktail, chicken and waffles and an oyster shooter was featured at this Chef tasting pavilion.
Chicago Gourmet 2014 Lobster rolls, bacon wrapped scallops, flank steak with chimichurri, cerviche, bbq, wild boar meatballs, burgers, dim sum, house made salumi.

I could go on and on and on…

Chicago Gourmet 2014Chicago Gourmet 2014Chicago Gourmet 2014 Elite wines, craft beers and other artisan spirits were featured all over, you definitely had to pace yourself, if you know what I mean!

Stans donuts, Chicago gourmet Desserts? They had it covered. Chocolates, candies, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, panna cotta, ice cream and fried dough, just to name a few.

How about a little donut with cheese popcorn pastry cream, a little caramel frosting and a cheese-caramel popcorn for garnish, sound weird to you? Trust me, they were to die for!

Chicago Gourmet 2014 Look at these beauties, except all I could manage was a tiny bit of each. My favorite was that gorgeous looking, rectangled pistacchio cake with cherries and hazelnuts set in a butter cookie crust, I’m still dreaming about it!

Chicago Gourmet 2014 Chicago Gourmet keeps getting better and better each year!

Until next time, Ciao

 

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