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Butternut-spinach lasagna

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
April 21, 2010

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Serves 8

At Haley House Cafe in Roxbury, Didi Emmons gives cooking classes and this vegetarian lasagna gets positive reviews, she says, even from the most skeptical, picky, nay-saying youth. It’s a good way to introduce tofu to kids (there’s mozzarella too). Emmons layers slices of roasted butternut squash with spinach, mashed tofu, tomato sauce, and uncooked lasagna noodles. The noodles soften in the liquid in the dish.

Olive oil (for the dish)
1 medium peeled and seeded butternut squash
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach, stemmed
1 pound firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons pesto
4 cups tomato sauce
1 box (1 pound) lasagna noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces shredded mozzarella

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch slices. In a large bowl, combine the squash, half the garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Spread the squash on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is tender.

3. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Cook the remaining garlic, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add half the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts; transfer to a plate. Wilt the remaining spinach in the same way.

4. In a bowl, with your hands, mash the tofu until it is the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add the pesto and mix well.

5. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce in the baking dish. Add enough uncooked lasagna to cover the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of the squash, 1/3 of the tofu, 1/3 of the spinach. Add salt and pepper.

6. Make two more layers in the same way, using 1/2 the mozzarella between them.

7. End with lasagna, remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil.

8. Bake the lasagna for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling at the edges and the cheese is golden. Let the lasagna settle for 5 minutes. Cut into squares.

Adapted from Didi Emmons