Vanessa's Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (buy already cut up!!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese (for best results, do not substitute)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. 

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the cheese. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Moroccan Root Vegetable Stew
(Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by the Moosewood Collective; Clarkson Potter, New York; 1999.)
1.5 Tbs vegetable oil
2 c. onions
3 garlic cloves
2 c. peeled and diced carrots
.5 c. diced celery
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
.5 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne
4 c. chicken stock
1 c. peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 c. peeled and diced turnips
1 c. cubed potatoes
2 bay leaves

Warm oil in soup pot, sautee onions and garlic until softened - about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery, cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When carrots have begun to soften, add cumin,paprika, coriander, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in stock and add sweet potatoes, turnips, and potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, add bay leaves, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard leaves, puree 2 c. of stew for a thicker stew.

English Milk Loaf
(The Great Book of Bread by Rosemary and Nick Moon; CLB, New Jersey; 1997.)

1/2 oz compressed yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons active dry)
2 c. lukewarm milk
6 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
beaten egg for glaze

Crumble yeast into half the milk and leave for 3-4 min, then stir to dissolve.

Mix flour and salt, then cut in butter. Form a well in the center and pour in the yeast liquid. Mix to a soft but manageable dough, adding milk as necessary.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return to bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 45-60 min.

Punch dough down and divide into two, one piece being about double the other. Shape larger piece into a round loaf and place on floured baking sheet. Shape small piece into a round and place on top. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press firmly through the topknot down to the baking sheet. Cover loosely and leave to rice for about 30 min.

Brush loaf with beaten egg. Bake in preheated 425 oven for 30-35 min, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on wire rack.