i love fall.
i love sweaters, sneakers, mustard yellow clothing, changing leaves, the whole enchilada including it’s ushering in of winter. another perk with the coming of fall is the vast variety and abundance of tasty winter squash and gourds ranging from the size of an apple to small child (srsly, check out the butternut squash at the wedge, it rivals a 3 year old!). squash, like sweet potatoes lend themselves well to dishes savory, sweet, or a combination of both. tonight’s dinner was inspired by a butternut squash ravioli dish i had had once. the resulting lasagna is creamy and chewy with a hint of sweetness brought out by roasting an acorn squash until caramelized. mmmmmm
Roasted Acorn Squash and Mushroom Lasagna Spirals with Bechamel Sauce
i also use this velvety white sauce to top pizzas, veggies, and as an alfredo sauce over linguine.
1 small Acorn Squash
12 lasagna noodles plus one or two extra
1 1/2 c mixed mushrooms, i used crimini and shitake, sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 lb extra firm tofu, drained
1 c pecan halves, toasted
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs nutritional yeast, divided
4 tbs cashew butter, divided
2 c unsweetened almond milk (or other substitute)
3 tbs earth balance, or oil
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tbs minced fresh parsley-optional
preheat oven to 425
place the squash in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute to soften the shell. cut in half lengthwise and wrap each piece in tin foil. place on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for about an hour. prep everything else while its baking.
bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
place pecans in a large food processor and pulse until coarsely ground and set aside. to the same bowl, add the tofu, 1 tbs cashew butter and one tbs nutritional yeast. add salt and pepper to taste and puree until a smooth yet grainy texture is achieved, set aside.
in a large skillet, heat 2 tbs oil and cook the onion until softened. add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. add the mushrooms and season with a little salt and pepper. cook until mushrooms have released all their liquid and have started to brown. stir in the pecans and thyme and set aside until squash is ready.
in a medium sauce pan, melt the earth balance and whisk in the flour to form a roux and cook until bubbling to get the raw taste out. whisk in the remaining cashew butter until smooth and then slowly add in the almond milk until thoroughly mixed. add the remaining nutritional yeast and the garlic and onion powder and cook on low for another five minutes to blend the flavors.
by now the squash should be ready, it should be soft and possibly have syrupy liquid oozing out of the foil. remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes before scooping out the flesh and mixing it with your pecan mushroom mixture. lower the oven heat to 350 degrees.
acorn squash stuffing
when the water boils, cook the noodles 6 at time for 8 minutes or your preferred firmness. while the noodles cook, cover a large counter with plastic wrap and place your finished fillings nearby. when the noodles are done, carefully remove them from the water with tongs and arrange side by side on the counter. bring the water back to a boil and simmer the second half of the noodle while you fill the first half.
to fill, place 2 tbs of the tofu ricotta on a noodle and spread across with a spatula. add about 1/4 cup of the squash mixture on top of the ricotta and spread across as well. roll the noodle up tightly, but not so tight that the filling escapes and place seam side down in a lightly oiled casserole dish. repeat with the rest of your noodles and filing and “nap” the rolls with 3/4 of your bechamel sauce.
*i used 2 small ceramic casseroles, hence 6 “missing” rolls.
cover the pan with foil and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until the edges have lightly browned.
to serve, pool some of the remaining sauce in the middle of a plate and place 2-3 rolls on top. sprinkle with the parsley and serve.