A while ago, I received a box from Vegus Orgánico. There was a huge variety of organic vegetables, everything super fresh: lettuces, arugula, cherry tomatoes, ciboulette, butternut squash… a lot of delicious and healthy food.
At the end, we had a lot of fresh salads and I left the squash for this special recipe that I was wondering to try for a while. The truth is that it came out amazing and perfect for this fall that is arriving in Santiago.
But more than talking about the recipe, I wanna talk about food. Real food.
As you may know by now, I do not have any food restrictions. The issue I have involves pineapple, but I will not die if I eat it. All my medical exams are fine and, because of that, I have no medical indication to avoid certain food.
I am neither vegan nor vegetarian and I eat pretty much everything, including lactose, gluten, carbs, sugar and all kind of bad, prohibited, dangerous, harmful food – and whatever people decide to call certain food.
The only type of food I do avoid is highly processed food (ultra processed), meaning highly industrialized foods, with chemicals and artificial ingredients to preserve, give texture or add flavor or smells. In this group are processed broths, soups and sauces in powder, frozen industrialized food and some other stuff.
Besides this, I eat pretty much everything. And I have no shame.
My alimentation rules are basically based on what my mom and grandmothers cooked. Real food. A table where you would always find vegetables. Where they knew what ingredients were used and how they were cooked. Where portions were balanced and dishes had the nutrition we needed for a good healthy. Where food was no monster and every bite was enjoyed at most. And where dessert was also homemade and celebrated!
I respect people’s food options, even though I tend to question them when they start to demonize certain ingredient… but here you will find recipes with natural ingredients and the processes to make your own meals. No restrictions.
An example? The white sauce in this recipe. We could perfectly buy the powder one and, with milk and water, it would be ready in 3 minutes. Mine takes a little longer… but have only butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg on it – and love. The other one, almost ready, have milk, flour, salt, palm oil and a ton of weird things that I don’t even know how to translate, such as gelato de propilo, palmitato de ascorbilo, almidón de papa, glutamato monosódico, inosinato de sodio… These things, for me, are no food at all.
So this is my philosophy: knowing what I’m eating and what it makes to my body. Trying to balance my meals. Eating my vegetables. Treating no food as enemy. Choosing fresh and season. Eating organic, when possible. Knowing every ingredient and how to cook them. And, more than anything, enjoy the meals and the precious moments we spend around the table. No shames, no traumas and no fear of real food.
And, to celebrate this, a beautiful lasagna… a meal that always bring the family together, and also brings comfort. And this one was made with the great organic vegetables that Vegus Orgánico sent me!
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Serves 4 people
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch nutmeg
1 medium butternut squash
Thyme and rosemary sprigs (optional)
7 oz. spinach
7 oz. (aprox.) oven-ready lasagna noodles
14 oz. (aprox.) mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Start with the squash: cut in cubes, season with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme/rosemary sprigs and bake it until tender (you can also cut it in half, season and take it to the oven, if you don’t want to peel it). While still warm, smash it, making a pure. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Now, the white sauce (bechamel): in a medium pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Using a hand mixer (fouet), stir well, until it is smooth and creamy and start to brown (this is called roux and you can use it to thicken creams, soups and sauces). Take from the heat and add the milk, stirring well. Take back to low heat and keep stirring until you have a thicker sauce (about 10 minutes). Season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. For this recipe, we do not want a very thick sauce, as it will help to cook the noodles in the oven. When you have the right consistency, take from heat and set aside.
Keep the oven at 200 degrees and assemble the lasagna: put a layer of béchamel, a layer of noodles, a layer of squash pure, a layer of spinach and a layer of mozzarella. Keep repeating these layers until you have no more ingredients, finishing with a béchamel layer. Cover with parmesan and take it to the oven until golden brown (10-15 minutes)
If you want to, you can make it ahead and keep on refrigerator, covered with plastic.
Serve it very hot, with a good glass of wine! And enjoy real food and good eating!