But since neither are really in season locally right now, I decided to do butternut squash instead. Then I decided it needed a white sauce instead of a marinara sauce. Then I started seeing lasagna rolls all over Pinterest and thought it would be cute to roll the squash up with the filling inside. And THEN...I saw lasagna cups on Pinterest using wonton wrappers, so I decided I was going to make my own version using thin slices of butternut squash.
This is how my mind works. Very weird. Anyways, they turned out adorable and delicious. And I even took the time to enter everything into a calorie counter and found out each individual cup will only cost you 182 calories, 11 grams of carbs and 12 grams of fat. Not bad for a New Year's Resolution meal! (To cut down on the fat even more, you could omit the white sauce.) Plus, the portable little cups would be great to bring to work for lunch!
First a note about choosing the butternut squash. To make this recipe work right, you need to search for a pretty long one so that the "noodles" fully sit inside the cups later.
Once you've peeled and seeded the squash, cut it into very thin slices. To do this, a mandoline works best because ideally, you want them to be 1/8 inch. I used the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline, but I probably wouldn't buy it again because it can be hard to use on tough vegetables. The Oxo V-Blade Mandoline gets good reviews, as does the de Buyer Mandoline if you want to spend a little more money.
Arrange slices in a single layer on a baking sheet (you might have to use two baking sheets). Brush with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until squash just starts to become pliable. These will serve as your "noodles."
In a medium saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, then add spinach. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Once cooled, squeeze out excess moisture and chop.
While spinach is cooking, mix together the ricotta, egg, and oregano. Add the chopped spinach once it's done.
Now for the sauce. I suppose you could skip this part, but I liked having a little moisture in the cups so they didn't get too dry. The fresh sage also adds a nice flavor to compliment the butternut squash, and if you use lowfat milk, the only real "bad" thing in it is the butter. Basically you just make a white sauce using a little butter, flour and milk with some freshly chopped sage mixed in. (Use rice flour to make it gluten free!)
To assemble lasagna cups, spray muffin tin with cooking spray and place 12 of your largest slices in the bottom each muffin cup. Spoon a layer of the ricotta mixture in each cup, and spoon some of the white sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Fontina cheese and repeat layers once more, this time laying the squash piece the other direction. Top with freshly grated Parmersan or Pecorino and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.
Butternut Squash Lasagna Cups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: roast entree appetizer low-carb gluten-free vegetarian butternut squash ricotta spinach lasagna Italian
Ingredients (12 cups)
- 1 peeled, seeded butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing
- 1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese (fresh is best!)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 12 whole leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (rice flour for gluten free)
- 2 cups milk, slightly warmed on stove or in microwave (I used 1%)
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup fontina cheese, freshly shredded
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- freshly ground nutmeg, for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a mandoline, slice squash into 1/8 inch slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until squash just starts to become pliable.
- While squash is baking, mix together ricotta, egg and oregano. Set aside.
- In a medium saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, then add spinach. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Once cooled, squeeze out excess moisture, chop, and add to ricotta mixture.
- In medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Add chopped sage and cook for one minute. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in warm milk. Continue cooking, stirring often, until sauce is simmering and thickened. Let sauce bubble gently until thick, about 5-10 minutes longer, stirring often so it doesn't scorch on bottom. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble lasagna cups, spray muffin tin with cooking spray and place 12 of your largest slices in the bottom each muffin cup. Spoon a layer of the ricotta mixture in each cup, and pour some of the white sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Fontina cheese and repeat layers once more, this time laying the squash piece the other direction. Top with freshly grated Parmersan or Pecorino and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.
- While lasagna cups are baking, fry sage leaves in hot olive oil for about 45 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- When lasagna is done, sprinkle each roll with a little nutmeg, top with a fried sage leave and serve!
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