Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Sage
Did you raise your eyebrows? I certainly did. I really love butternut squash, especially this time of year. It’s healthy and most of the time it’s a hearty substitute for meat. We eat it roasted, we eat it in risotto, it makes a great soup, but those are all very common uses for this fall favorite. I wanted something a little more unique this time around.
I love vegetable lasagnas so I started searching around and found that there are actually a lot of butternut squash lasagna recipes. Admittedly, I was skeptical at this idea…I just wasn’t sure how the flavor of the squash would marry with ricotta…I don’t even like ricotta! Then I came across Good Housekeeping’s recipe that uses a béchamel sauce. Hello, brilliant!
Paul was skeptical too (he says he wasn’t but I think he really was.) But this recipe is a keeper. The whole thing just works. The onions and the squash are sweet but the spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella balance it perfectly. The lasagna was hearty, rich and filling and the flavors were much more balanced that I imagined they would be. This is new comfort food for me!
Butternut Squash Lasagna with Spinach and Sage Recipe
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 45
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 (2-3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Parmesan-Sage Béchamel Sauce:
2 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. dried sage
3 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water (or 2 cups packed, fresh spinach)
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth
12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional fresh sage leaves
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add the butternut squash and toss with olive oil, sage leaves, salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and mash gently with a potato masher or two forks. (I actually used a pastry blender and it worked great!)
While the squash is roasting, melt the butter over medium heat. Gently stir in the flour with a whisk. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and dried sage and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens slightly. Continue to stir constantly while the sauce boils for 1 minute. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese and remove the pan from the heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and salt, cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are brown, fragrant and tender. Stir in the spinach and cook for 6-7 minutes more. Add the butternut squash and stir until combined. Mix in the vegetable broth. Remove from heat.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Ladle a small amount of the white sauce into the bottom. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping if needed. Top with the squash mixture and pour about 1 cup of the white sauce over the squash and arrange another 4 lasagna noodles and repeat 2 more times. Top with mozzarella cheese and sage leaves.
Bake at 375 degrees, covered with foil, for 45 minutes. And then bake another 5-10 uncovered until the cheese is browned.
Sage leaves are wonderful fried. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 10-15 sage leaves and allow them to crisp for several minutes. They are delicious!
This is a great prep-ahead meal. I put it together on a Sunday afternoon but didn’t bake it until Tuesday night. Prepare the lasagna, including layering the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. It would also freeze well. Just cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil.
Adapted from Good Housekeeping