This week we have made a spin on kugel, a traditional Jewish dish that is already meatless. This spinach & squash kugel is a fantastic total meal in a single dish, perhaps served with a salad for some additional roughage!
Note: This recipe yields a family sized casserole dish, so half the recipe if you are serving four or fewer people.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 kabochi (or acorn) squash
- 1 16 oz package egg noodles
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 8 oz grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in halves, remove seeds and place in roasting dish face down. Pour 1/2 cup of water in bottom of dish, cover with foil, and roast for 20-25 minutes. You want the flesh to be cooked but not mushy. Remove from oven and cool (I put them in the freezer to cool completely for about a half hour while preparing the rest of the ingredients).
Cook egg noodles (add a little salt to the water). After straining, shock the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
To make the yummy sauce, melt butter over low heat (don't let it burn), stir in flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and add chopped spinach and ricotta. Blend with a spoon thoroughly and set aside for a few moments.
If your oven is still on, turn it down to 350 degrees and wait for proper temperature (otherwise, preheat it again). Rub baking dish with oil. Remove squash from fridge/freezer, cut squares into cooked halves then scoop out squares into a bowl. Some of the softer, mashed pieces can be used with the cheese on top when you get to the assembly.
Mix noodles with sauce thoroughly making sure that all of the noodles are coated. Spoon and spread 1/3 of noodles into baking dish. Drop squares of 1/2 of squash into dish, then add the next 1/3 of noodles, followed by the remaining squares of squash, and finishing with the remaining 1/3 of noodles.
Sprinkle cheese on top and dollop any smaller mushy pieces of squash (this will add additional color to the dish).
Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese browns. Cool but serve warm.
We want to thank inSHAPE clients Rebecca Reich and Anna Suh for their contributions to this dish. It was great fun inventing it. If you want a taste of it, book a session with Kim. Her tiny family of three should have plenty left, and will need a year to finish off the completed dish!