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The new lasagna: bake up a panful of a cheesy, bubbling pasta favorite that's packed with winter produce.

AH, LASAGNA. We never tire of it. Our latest version is bursting with the lively flavor and color of midwinter vegetables. Whole-wheat lasagna noodles, available in many grocery stores, add an earthy dimension and a slightly nutty flavor.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our recipe is just one link in lasagna's evolutionary chain. An eternally popular combination of pasta layered with sauce and cheese, lasagna dates back to medieval times. Italian immigrants introduced America to lasagna Bolognese, and its descendants have featured everything from artichoke hearts to sun-dried tomatoes, and now squash and kale. It's the ideal dish for midwinter--warming, cheery, and nutritious. And it's even better the next day.

Whole-wheat lasagna with butternut squash and kale

PREP AND COOK TIME About 2 hours

MAKES 8 servings

NOTES You can assemble and chill the lasagna a day ahead, but add 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time. You can also freeze the lasagna, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month and bake it frozen (add 1 1/4 hours to the oven time).
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
3 peeled garlic cloves (1 minced, 2 left whole)
2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
About 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 cups (about 2 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in.
 cubes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. Lacinato kale (often sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale)
9 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 8 oz.)
1 container (15 oz.) part-skim-milk ricotta cheese
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


1. Preheat oven to 400[degrees]. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 2- to 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350[degrees]. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and puree until smooth.

4. Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.

5. In the same pot, bring another 3 qts. salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water.

6. In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.

7. Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of kale evenly over squash. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

8. Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

PER 4 1/2- by 4 1/2-IN. SERVING 424 CAL., 38% (162 CAL.) FROM FAT; 20 G PROTEIN; 18 G FAT (7.4 G SAT.); 51 G CARBO (8 G FIBER); 659 MG SODIUM; 39 MG CHOL.

*VEG OUT: FIND DOZENS OF VEGETARIAN ENTREES AT sunset.com/veggie

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNABELLE BREAKEY
COPYRIGHT 2008 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:More vegetables
Author:Ferreira, Charity
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2008
Words:638
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