Love it or hate, everyone seems to have an opinion on leftovers. I myself have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. There are some foods that truly taste better a day or so after it's made, while others, after sitting in their tupperware for days on end, will inevitably end up in the compost, making me feel bad for wasting food. In order for me to feel the love for leftovers, I generally have to use my imagination to transform them into something else entirely. Leftover chicken gets tossed into a stir fry; grilled vegetables get stuffed into an omelette or panini; baked potatoes get cut up and seasoned to become home fries; almost any leftover can easily be transformed into a completely different dish so that you feel like you haven't been eating the same thing all week long.
A few weeks ago (er...maybe even a month...damn procrastination) I decided to experiment with some leftover roasted butternut squash. The evening prior, my family roasted butternut squash tossed with some butter and brown sugar and there was a great deal left over. We also had a few sheets of fresh pasta leftover from our homemade lasagna, so I wanted to use those up as well. In hardly any time at all I had a completely reinvented, delicious meal steaming hot, ready for me to devour! The sweet butternut squash had the perfect texture and flavour for my filling. The cannelloni was topped with tomato sauce and the same cheese sauce my mom uses for her lasagna, which added a fantastic creaminess to the dish. Needless to say, I loved eating every last bit of these leftovers!
Note: You don't have to be meticulous with leftovers. I have given a guide as to the amount of each ingredient goes into this dish, but it is all approximate, and you by no means need to follow it exactly.
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
about 2 tbsp butter, melted
about 1 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to season
about 1 cup tomato sauce
3-5 sage leaves, chopped very fine
1/2 250g container cottage cheese
1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package fresh lasagna pasta sheets (you may also use fresh cannelloni tubes or fresh large shell pasta)
1. If using fresh butternut squash, not leftovers, toss squash with butter and brown sugar. Spread squash in an single layer on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and bake at 400º for 45-55 minutes.
2. Mash cooked squash with a fork, add the sage and stir to combine. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, puree the cottage cheese and parmesan cheese using an immersion blender. Set aside.
4. Lay out pasta sheets and cut them in half widthwise. Spoon about a 1/4 cup - 1/3 of the filling down the centre of the pasta sheet, and roll up to enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining squash and pasta.
5. Spoon on a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a medium baking sheet. Place in the cannelloni, seam side down, in a single layer, The cannelloni rolls should be touching.
6. Spoon over the tomato sauce and top with dollops of cheese mixture. Bake in a 350º oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Adele - Rolling In The Deep
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