Whole-wheat lasagna with butternut squash and kale

SERVES – 8
TIME – About 2 hours

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, 1 minced, 2 peeled and left whole
2 cans (14oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided plus more to taste
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2 in. cubes (6 cups)
1 lb lacinato kale (often called black or dinosaur kale), rinsed well
9 whole-wheat lasagna noodle (about 8 oz.)
About 2 cups (1 carton, 15 oz.) part skim milk ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 2- to 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavours are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, remaining 2 tbsp. oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft 10-15 minutes. Bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.
  3. Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft, 5-8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.
  5. Bring another 3qts. salted water to a boil in same pot. Add noodles and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water.
  6. Mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper in medium bowl.
  7. Coat bottom of a 9- by 13- in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Sprinkle half the kale evenly over squash. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
  8. Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.You can assemble and chill the lasagna a day ahead, but add 10-15 minutes baking time. You can also freeze the lasagna , wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month and bake frozen (add 1 1/4 hours to oven time).Recipe taken from Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook

    Note from Thistle Farm – You can also sautee the kale instead of boiling it to retain some of the nutrients, or boil your noodles in the kale water (however, kale can have a bitter taste when raw, so test the water to see what it tastes like as the noodles may take on that flavour). You could also sub in other greens that you prefer for a milder flavour (ie. chard, spinach). The star here is the butternut squash which will add a rich nutty flavour to the dish. A nice comforting meal for the cooler nights.
    *A potato masher would do the trick if you don’t have a food processor, just make sure the garlic cloves are thoroughly mashed also.