Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn Recipes to Get You in the Season

After a few requests, I thought I would share a new favorite fall recipe or 2. Great for dinner parties! If you try either, let me know what you think! The first requires some elbow grease but is worth it! Post on my facebook page or leave a comments here! Even better, share you own fall favorites:)

Butternut Squash Lasagna
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1( 1.5-2lb) butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
-salt and fresh ground pepper
-1/2 cup water
-6 biscotti cookies, crumbled
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-1/4 cup flour
-3.5 cups milk ( if you want it super creamy use whole milk)
-pinch of nutmeg
-3/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
-12 no- boil lasagna noodles ( Trader Joes carries these)
-2.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (costco carries this)

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet, then cover and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally, until squash is tender ( about 20 minutes) Cool slightly then transfer to a food processor (blenders work too). Add half the biscotti cookies. Season the puree to taste with salt and pepper.
NOTE : if this first part seems overwhelming to you, you can skip these steps and just buy the seasonal butternut squash sauce for $12 at williams & sonoma)

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium, heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking often until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 min. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half the sauce to a blender ( or food processor) add basil and blend until smooth, Return basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over the dish, arrange 3 of the lasagna noodles ( they will expand as they bake) pour 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles, sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella. Drizzle 1/2 cup sauce over mozzarella. Repeat layering noodles, squash puree and cheese 2 more times. Top with remaining crumbled biscotti.

4. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 40 min. Uncover the lasagna after this time and sprinke with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Continue baking uncovered for about 15 minutes longer.

Serve with Garlic Bread!

Home Made Apple Cider
-6 cups apple cider
-1/4 cup real maple syrup
-2 cinnamon sticks
-6 whole cloves
-6 whole allspice berries
-1 orange peel, cut into strips
-1 lemon peel, cut into strips

1. Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
2. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
3. Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
4. Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.

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