Roasted Butternut Squash Rollups

Fall cooking screams roasting squash and root vegetables to me. I used to fear squash because it too closely resembled under seasoned baby food that was far too sweet for my liking. Most people fall under the sweet or savory category and I’m definitely in the later. I love salty, earthy, rich flavors and usually stray from sweet flavors in main courses. A few years ago I found that roasting veggies with salt, pepper and some olive oil allowed the natural flavors to be enhanced, but not sweetened. Don’t get me wrong – if you like your squash sweet just roast and top with some brown sugar and melted butter and you’ll be set!

One of my first attempts at making a savory dish with a sweet ingredient was roasted sweet potato mash with garlic, bacon and blue cheese. It has become a holiday staple in our house now. Clearly bacon makes everything better!

In my attempt to actually make stuff I pin, I searched my boards this weekend and committed to making two dishes this week that I’ve pinned. This healthy butternut squash and spinach lasagna roll ups recipe immediately caught my eye. As I usually do, I made several modifications but generally followed this recipe. It turned out great – and was even better the next day.

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Skinnytaste.com has some great photos so be sure to check out their post. Here’s my adapted version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Butternut Parmesan Sauce:

  • 1 large butternut squash, cut in half (prepare to roast)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper – optional
  • 1/4 milk (I had non-fat on hand) – optional

For the Lasagna:

  • 1 pack whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, heated and squeezed well (I used about 15 oz. but that might be more spinach that some people enjoy)
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim shredded Italian Blend Cheese
  • pinch (or two) of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Preheat an oven to 425
  • Place butternut squash halves on foil lined baking tray, sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil
  • Bake for about 45 minutes (or until tender)
  • While squash cooks, boil noodles and reserve about 1 cup cooking liquid for squash puree
  • Drain and dry noodles, lay them out flat ready to roll up (don’t lay them on each other to prevent sticking)
  • Mix egg, drained spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl and set aside
  • Remove squash from oven and allow to cool for a few minute, reduce oven temp to 350
  • In a large deep skillet or pot (I used the same pasta pot) sauté the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes
  • Remove the skins from squash (or spoon the squash out of skins) and add the roasted squash to shallot, garlic mixture
  • Add about half of the reserved pasta water to help thin mixture out, add additional as needed
  • Add Parmesan cheese, milk and pinch of cayenne
  • Puree mixture with immersion blender (could also just add sauteed shallots, garlic and squash to blender for this step)
  • Spread out about 1/2 cup squash mixture on the bottom of 9×12 baking dish
  • Spread about 3 tablespoons (will vary depending on your lasagna pieces) evenly on top of lasagna noodle and lightly roll it up
  • Place roll ups seam side down in baking dish
  • Top with squash sauce and cheese
  • Bake for 40 min covered, 10 min uncovered (or until bubbly and lightly browned)
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