Chicken, roasted butternut and feta lasagna

by Jeanne on December 16, 2009

in Events - Presto Pasta Nights, Pasta & rice

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I’ve said it before (quite often, recently!), and I’ll say it again: one of the best things about blogging is the people that you meet.

In some cases, it will be people that you meet in person, like my wonderful friends from Food Blogger Connect 2009 (yes, you all know who you are!), or Courtney, Charlotte, Johanna, Andrew and the many other great people who I now consider "real life" friends rather than just blog friends.

In other cases it will be bloggers that you have never met but with whom you have so much contact that you feel as if you’ve met (say hello Colleen, Nina, Bron and Anthony).

And in yet other cases, it's readers – more specifically, a reader of mine called Erica who sent me an e-mail a while back to say that they'd been to a restaurant in my hometown of Port Elizabeth and liked the dish they ate so much that they tried to recreate the recipe.  And then they sent the recipe to me!  Isn't that the best kind of gift ever?  I made a few tweaks and recently cooked the dish for a relaxed Sunday lunch with friends and all I can tell you, dear readers, is this:  Make. This. Dish.  It is a fantastic variation on traditional lasagna, and if you leave out the chicken, it can easily be made as a vegetarian dish that will have your vegetarian guests fighting off marauding meat-eaters :)

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CHICKEN, ROASTED BUTTERNUT AND FETA LASAGNA (serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 cups raw butternut squash, peeled and diced
Olive oil
200g feta cheese
Uncooked lasagna sheets
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, crushed

For the tomato sauce:

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup white wine

For the cheese sauce:

2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
340ml milk
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated mature cheddar

Method:

Spread the butternut cubes evenly in a shallow roasting dish and toss in enough olive oil to coat lightly. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 190C until tender (about 20 minutes).

Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips. Heat a little love oil in a frying pan, add the crushed garlic, the bay leaf and the chicken. Cook until just done and add the cloves, salt and pepper. Remove from the pan, discard the bay leaf. Set chicken aside and keep warm.

In the same pot, add a little more olive oil as well as the onion and garlic. Fry gently until the onions are translucent but not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato, paste and wine and cook until sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in the cooked chicken, set aside and keep warm.

In a clean pot, melt the butter for the cheese sauce. When melted, add the flour and stir until all the butter has been absorbed. Cook for a minute or 2, then over low heat gradually add the milk, whisking after each addition to make sure there are no lumps. Stir in the nutmeg and grated cheddar and stir until cheddar has melted.

To assemble:

Lightly grease a large square oven-proof dish. Cover the base with lasagna sheets, then top with a layer of the tomato-chicken mix, crumbled feta cheese, roasted butternut cubes and cheese sauce. Repeat these layers, ending with cheese sauce on top. Top with grated mozzarella and bake at 180C until bubbly and golden.

Serve with garlic bread and a mixed salad.

I am submitting this to Reeni of Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice as my entry into this week's Presto Pasta Nights, the event created by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and which Reeni is hosting this week.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

meeta December 16, 2009 at 10:04 am

hey sistah! boy this is just up my road! i love lasagna like this when you come here in july you’ll have to make this for me! and yes glad that blogging brought us together!

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Jamie December 16, 2009 at 10:12 am

I think my greatest holiday gift this year is truly the great friends I have made this year, mostly the last few months as well as through FBC, through food blogging! And this lasagne is amazing, an OMG I HAVE TO MAKE THIS kind of dish. And I will!

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bellini valli December 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

I seem to have a butternut squash on hand at all times these days so this would be perfect!!

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Bethany December 16, 2009 at 10:30 am

OH Man! That looks mouthwateringly delicious! It’s perfect for this bitter cold day here (expecting snow!!!) Yes FBC was fantastic in that it brought us all together… and if it wasn’t for that I would have never met you and would have missed knowing a really cool person and too many funny jokes! I look forward to that dinner in Jan- is this on the menu ;)

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diva December 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

oh jeanne, this is a great variation on the usual beef lasagne which can be a little heavy sometimes. would prefer this definitely with chicken, butternut squash and white wine! oh can’t wait to give this a try, especially when the girlfriends start worrying about their waistlines and red meat blah blah. yum yum x

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Hilda December 16, 2009 at 11:38 am

This sounds fantastic! I love butternut squash and feta cheese and well, lasagna, because who doesn’t right? I am totally making this asap. And I’m really glad to have met you too, it’s not every day one finds someone with such a great sense of humor. =)

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Soma December 16, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Very unusual combination for me, but it looks delicious!

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Bordeaux December 17, 2009 at 6:17 am

How strange, I made a kind of butternut lasagna too this week. Mine was sans chicken though and did not look nearly as decadent as yours, now I’m hungry…

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Deborah December 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Hi there
It shounds absolutely lovely. I’m going to try one of these days, when I’m up and feeling better. I’m having a touch of the flu I think.
I also cook and love to do so, and have a few recipes over at my place as well. Recently I was hacked so I’m still waiting to get my original blog up and runing again.
I’m parts in Danish and parts in both English and Danish.

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healthy sports December 17, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I love LASAGNA and this one looks perfect.. Thanks for the recipe..

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Scott at Real Epicurean December 17, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Fantastic to see a different take on a classic dish. Love it.

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Koek! December 18, 2009 at 5:35 am

Oooh this looks superly gooily delicious! I like the addition of white wine to the tomato sauce…

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Reeni December 18, 2009 at 10:21 pm

What a delicious combo for a lasagna! So comforting! Thanks for sending it to Presto Pasta Nights!

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Crystal December 18, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Looks great – as always on your blog. I recently tried winging it with butternut lasagne but not very successfully! Will give yours atry.

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elra December 19, 2009 at 1:31 am

I never made lasagna using butternut squash, sounds really tempting Jeanne.

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Karine December 19, 2009 at 2:18 am

Your lasagna sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing:)

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Joanne December 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Wow. This looks amazingly delicious. I am such a HUGE butternut squash fan and the thought of it with this feta cheese is blowing my mind. I love that cheese sauce as well.

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Jan December 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Wow this lasagne looks lovely! I really like the chicken with the feta and the butternut just does it all! LOVE the pictures too.
I’m soooo way behind with blogging and have missed so many of your lovely recipes.
A very Happy Christmas to you Jeannie x

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Gourmet Chick December 20, 2009 at 10:43 am

This looks delicious I love the combination of flavours – a few of my favourite foods all wrapped in pasta and cheese

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Kevin December 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm

That lasagna sounds amazingly good! Nice way to use the seasonal squash!

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Daily Spud December 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Fair warning, I’ll fight ya for some of that :)

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Peter December 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Jeanne, the lasagne looks superb…in it’s all-gooeyness. I’m enjoying your many kitchen flirtations with Feta.

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Kitchen Butterfly December 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Yummy….with squash and feta. Wow. All I can think off is a huge dollop of pesto on the side….

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Simba Eats December 27, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Wow – never thought about using Feta in lasagne. Nice!

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Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet January 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

What a great reader Erica is; this recipe is a definite must try!

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Amy April 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

I made this recipe last night and it was an absolute winner!!!

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Deena kakaya October 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This looks like the good stuff, I’m going to put a veggie version on the menu next week x

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