The last few days have been gloriously, wonderfully Fall-ish. It’s chilly enough in the morning that when I take the dog out for her walk I need a heavy sweatshirt, and we’ve had a rash of those perfectly sorts of sunny days, where rays of pale yellow sunshine cutting through the chill make it feel almost colder in the sunlight than it does in the shade.
These days are made for baking, you know? When the weather finally (finally!) starts to turn and our countertop fruit bowl gradually takes on more squash, I instinctively reach for the oven dials like an alkie to a bottle. The need to make warm, comforting food is practically all consuming.
This Squash Lasagna is one of those cold weather foods. It was so good that I made it twice this week. And, since the Big Man has been working his fingers to the bone on the opening of the new bar, routinely getting home at night long after I’ve passed out on the couch trying to wait up for him, it reheats beautifully, as if it were just pulled out of the oven.
I feel kind of bad for the guy, since he usually comes home to me out cold on the couch; glasses askew, a light on, informercial on the TV, and the dog curled up in the crook of my leg. He tries in vain to get me to go to bed, but our time together these days is so few and far between that I force myself awake and pepper him with questions. How was the day? How were the crowds? Is the staff working out? What new items did you add on to the menu? I’m ravenous for any information about his day, and we’re both cautiously thrilled that the bar is a success this early in the game. The food there is fantastic and the beer list is extensive, the back patio is now open and open bar seats are scarce. He fills me in on everything between bites of lasagna, swatting the curious dog away as he perches a plate on his lap.
The squash in this lasagna, lightly seasoned with pepper and nutmeg, retains a bit of bite, but not too much- and the meaty tomato sauce coupled with the clumps of cool cheese and sour cream, wilted spinach and chewy pasta makes our late night, sleepy conversations that much easier to say. His days are slowly shortening from 18 to 12 hours long, and I’m trying to bake as much comforting food as possible for when he gets home. It’s cold out there, after all.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
2 cups tomato sauce (see my red sauce recipe here)
8-10 lasagna pasta sheets
1 acorn squash, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Meunster cheese
1 ½ cup fresh spinach, roughly diced
3-4 green onion, minced
Heat the onion and vegetable oil over medium heat until the onion has softened considerably. Add the beef and brown, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the tomato sauce and heat through, then set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Generously salt a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the lasagna sheets until they are almost al dente- about 6 minutes-, then remove and shock with cold water. While the lasagna sheets are boiling, toss the squash with the nutmeg and black pepper and set aside. Cream together the sour cream, Muenster cheese, spinach and scallions.
When the pasta is finished, begin building the lasagna. Lay down 3-4 sheets of lasagna, then top with a layer of sour cream mix, then a layer of squash, and then a layer of the meaty tomato sauce. Continue in this fashion until the lasagna is all used, ending with a layer of meaty tomato sauce and topped with any remaining squash slices.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the squash on top has lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.