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Butternut Squash Lasagna


I first created this recipe many years ago after I was inspired by a butternut squash ravioli I had at a local restaurant. It has recently become more popular and I have seen versions that include spinach or mushrooms, which this one does not. The sweetness of the roasted squash against the delicate cheeses among the tender lasagna noodles, with the browned buttery walnuts and sage is heaven in a bite. I think of it as a fall and winter favorite and it has been served at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and I have made it several times for others to serve at their gatherings. Like many lasagnas, it is very rich and filling and makes a hearty main course, or serve a small slice amongst your other courses. You can leave walnuts whole to make a statement, or chop them finely to provide a more even crust.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package no boil lasagna- you will use 12 noodles for three noodle layers*

  • 1 butternut squash

  • 1 T olive oil

  • 1 t salt

  • 1/2 t black pepper

  • Optional: depending on sweetness of squash, you can add 1 T maple syrup

  • 20 Oz fresh, whole milk ricotta*

  • 8 Oz mozzarella, shredded*

  • 8 oz parmesan, asiago, romano mix (can use only parmesan, but more interesting this way)*

  • 1 eggs

  • 1 t salt

  • 1/2 t black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 3 T butter

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • 1 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 t salt, 1/4 t black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1/4 c butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 12 sage leaves

  • Optional: add 1 t brown sugar to add a little sweetness

Directions:

  1. Roast squash but halving lengthwise, scooping out seeds and pulp, coat with olive oil and s&p and bake on baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 min until soft. I roast face up for 20 min, then rotate to face down- puncturing several times with a fork to allow oil and seasonings to soak in

  2. Scoop out squash and puree in processor or blender. (can also be done by hand but this saves a lot of time)

  3. Prepare sauce by melting butter in saucepan, whisk in flour, add milk, nutmeg and salt and pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes

  4. Combine cheeses and egg and salt and pepper, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 cup of parm mix to sprinkle on top

  5. In a 9x 13 buttered casserole dish, spread 1/4 of white sauce, spread 4 noodles, then layer 1/3 ricotta mix, 1/3 squash mix and repeat to have two layers or cheese-squash.

  6. Top with 4 additional noodles, pour remaining sauce on top

  7. Sprinkle remaining parmesan mix on top

  8. Make topping by browning butter in pan, add sage and walnuts, allow sage to crisp- pour on top of lasagna with butter

  9. Bake 375 for 50-60 minutes, covered until bubbly and noodles are tender when poked with fork or knife. Then uncover 10 minutes so cheese melts and browns slightly, allow to sit 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

  10. This dish is excellent served with sautéed spinach, roasted asparagus, and a green salad, something green to cut the sweetness

*Note #1: This is for three noodle layers, you can do four layers if you have a deep pan, just make sure to have plenty of filling (Increase cheeses by 50% and ensure you have enough squash, or make thinner layers to allow three squash-cheese layers between four noodle layers). A deeper lasagna would serve more guests

Note #2: This recipe calls for no- boil lasagna noodles. I find they work best because there is so much moisture in the squash that they cook while baking and absorb the flavors of the layers, but pre-cooked lasagna noodles can work too, ensure they are al dente so they don't get overcooked.




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