Up and at ‘em! There was talk of snow flurries in the foothills overnight, but this morning is sunny, breezy, and crisp—unfortunately not a drop of snow in sight. The rain is supposed to start again this afternoon, so now’s the time to get out, suck in some fresh air, and absorb a little vitamin D. My suggestion for a morning activity: Saturday Farmers Market, from 8:30 am-1 pm, located downtown between Santa Barbara and Cota Streets. There’s no better way to rub elbows with Santa Barbarans; peruse all of the lovely greens, flowers, and fruits produced locally; and collect your fixin’s for a hearty soup to enjoy when the clouds roll in this afternoon. Since winter squash is in season and available at the market, check out a recipe (below) for butternut squash lasagna.
Adapted from Shepherd Farms News
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 package of dry or fresh lasagna pasta
1 16 oz. container of Ricotta cheese
3-6 cloves of garlic
3 medium/large shallots
Parmesan, Asiago, and Pecorrino cheeses
salt and pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (optional)
Peel and cube the butternut squash and boil in water with a splash of lemon juice until soft. Drain water (set aside for later) and mash squash to a spreadable consistency. Add salt, pepper, and sage to taste. Set aside. Caramelize onions, shallots, and garlic in a pan and lightly deglaze with cooking sherry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With drained butternut water (and any additional water needed), boil lasagna until al dente. Mix Ricotta and eggs in a bowl until smooth. In a lightly oiled glass baking pan, spread a think layer of caramelized onions, followed by a thin layer of butternut, then cover with pasta. (I like to throw in some greens to my lasagna, and Swiss chard is available at the market and a tasty addition to this classic recipe. Add a bit to each layer, if desired.) Again, spread a thin layer of onions and butternut and season with pepper and sage. Add a layer of ricotta and egg mixture, sprinkle with choice of cheeses (Parmesan, Asiago, and Pecorrino), and cover with pasta. Repeat layering until everything is used. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350-375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes in order to get the cheese a bit crispy. Enjoy!