Butternut and Navy Bean Lasagna
The weather turned cold today – I mean, it had been getting chilly for the last couple of weeks… but today it actually turned cold. I could even see snow off in the distance on Mt. Diablo, and a couple of my sisters reported having snow near their houses or on their way to work… Kinda trippy… I mean, it’s not supposed to snow in California, well – outside of Tahoe it isn’t, anyways – it’s allowed there. That’s far enough away to not be an issue. You see, I like snow. I like to look at it outside of my window and say “awww… pretty”. But I hate driving in it, walking in it, or touching it in any way.
So enough on the weather – I suppose ya’ll might be wondering why posting has been so light. Well I don’t really have a good excuse for you… during and around thanksgiving, we were busy with that, and I kinda figured there was probably enough people out there blogging all their thanksgiving family recipes, so I decided to focus on just having a nice meal and not stress on getting perfect pictures… then afterwards… well, I guess for the last couple of weeks I just kinda got a little bit lazy and a little bit busy, and we ended up eating out a little more frequently than usual, but hopefully I’m turning the corner and getting back in to the swing of things. I’m starting to work on getting things done around the house – we had the drywall guys out here today, actually – patching up the cracked seams in the rest of the den.
We were kind of toying with the idea of jumping right in to painting and trim right after the patches had finished setting, but after thinking about it a little more, we decided to wait until after Yule. I’m hosting, and I’m not 100% sure that I can get everything done before then – and although I’m sure everyone would understand, I’m just not keen on the idea of having everyone show up and seeing my desk shoved in to the corner of the living room, furniture covered in sheets, in a corner of the den, etc.. know what I mean? Now I’m going to shoot for starting on the painting and trim on Christmas (shhhh… don’t tell Mr. Man). It’ll be a busy few days, but I think if we push hard, we can get the painting and trim done during that time.
Unfortunately, it looks like doing something about that hideous parquet might have to wait. We were discussing getting the floor done, but it looks like it might be out of the budget right now, unless we were willing to compromise a great deal, which I’m not really. I’m going to get a few more bids, and we’ll see where we end up. (cross your fingers for us!) I’d like to get some sort of eco-friendly carpet in there. We talked about hardwood or something a little longer lived – but to be honest, that room is one of the coldest in the house during the winter, and getting a nice warm carpet in there sounds pretty awesome, although I’m a little worried about it getting stained, since we have the coffee machine in the den/bar area by the fireplace… and my hobby area is (eventually) going to live in the den… Anyways, we have some decisions to make on the flooring still, so it might be best to sit on it for a while.
So back to the lasagna – since the weather has started to go colder, when I have been cooking I’ve been opting for more hearty, comfort food things. We had a lovely soup (similar to the Savoy Cannellini Stew) several days this week, since I ended up making a big batch of beans… lol. I thought I was making 1lb, since that was what I ordered from Planet Organics, but I wasn’t paying attention, and I didn’t weigh it – so I think it was a lot more than a pound, because when all was said and done, I ended up with a HUGE pot of beans. Enough to pull off an entire quart to save for later, and STILL be eating beans for most of the week. (Thats what I get for not paying attention…)
The squash was actually leftover from when I made roasted squash puree for Pie on Thanksgiving – between having the beans already cooked in the fridge, and the squash on hand, it was by far one of the quickest lasagna’s I’ve ever put together, and using Fresh Pasta sheets made it go together even faster, since I didn’t need to pre-boil the sheets. Not that I do normally – if fresh pasta isn’t available, I usually cheat and get the no-boil lasagna noodles… pre-boiling lasagna noodles is just not something I’ve felt is worth the hassle. It was a nice little experiment, too – because honestly, I haven’t really explored the world of lasagna outside of the red sauce world, and I’m thinking that has been an oversight I definitely need to fix, because this lasagna was GOOD. If you don’t happen to have pre-cooked beans and squash on hand, you can substitute canned beans and pumpkin puree, it should work almost as well.
When I first started to make it – Miss Thing came over and asked about what I was making, and I told her Lasagna. At first she was all excited (lasagna is a treat), but then she saw me pulling squash and beans out of the fridge and she got… ah… a little unhappy with me. lol – “Ewwwww! You’re ruining it! Don’t put that in there!” etc… But anyways, long story short – she loved it, and had two helpings (and some leftovers again this afternoon for lunch). So there you go – even squash-haters like this lasagna.
- 1 qt Roasted and Pureed Butternut Squash (or other type of squash)
- 1 qt Cooked Navy Beans (in liquid)
- 1 lb Lasagna Noodles (Fresh pasta recommended)
- 16 oz Small Curd Cottage Cheese
- 12 oz Manchego Cheese; shredded
- 1 large Onion, diced
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 1 sprig Rosemary;
- 1 large sprig Thyme
- 8 Sage Leaves (or so)
- 2 inch Piece of Fresh Ginger; peeled
- 2 tbs Butter
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- 1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Kosher Salt
- Preheat Oven to 350° and butter a 9″x13″ Baking Pan
- De-stem the thyme and rosemary
- Finely mince together the ginger, rosemary, garlic, sage, and thyme
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat
- Add the onions, and saute until beginning to turn golden
- Clear a spot in the the center of the pan and add the minced ginger-garlic mixture
- Stir and heat until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
- Clear a spot in the center of the pan again and add about 1/2 the Navy beans
- Smoosh the Navy beans a couple of times with the back of a spoon or a potato masher, then add remaining beans, bean liquid and the squash puree
- Reduce heat to low and stir
- Simmer for 3-5 minutes, then add the Cider Vinegar, White Wine, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper and Kosher Salt (to taste)
- Place a layer of noodles in bottom of pan
- To assemble the lasagna, start with a noodle layer, then a sauce layer, then a cheese layer. Repeat. After the second or third layer (depending on how many layers you are going to have), spread the Cottage Cheese out evenly on top of a layer of noodles, then top with sauce and cheese and atleast one more layer. Cottage cheese layer should be situated as near as possible to the center of the lasagna, and the top should be sauce and shredded cheese
- Bake assembled lasagna in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until cheese is golden and lasagna is heated through