At the risk of turning orange from head to toe, we continue to eat squash almost daily, we especially love butternut squash and incorporate it into a variety of dishes including classics like lasagna. Making mashed vegetables has become second nature to me, I can do it with my eyes closed, or even when a little almost walking toddler is trying to explore the most interesting place in our home, the kitchen!
I make pureed butternut squash for little Sara all the time, she loves it but with our busy schedules, I try to make dishes that a 1 year old can eat but one that we will enjoy as well. After a long day, the last thing I want for dinner is a plate of food that tastes more like jarred baby food than anything else. So, instead of making two separate dishes, I put a portion aside for Sara and then season the rest with salt, pepper or sometimes a little brown butter and sage like this mashed sweet potato dish.
Like all winter squash, butternut squash too is loaded with carotenoids and have numerous health benefits. Low in fat and high in fibre, it’s a fantastic vegetable for fall and winter. It can be simply roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper or can be mashed to incorporate into muffin or cake batters…
Once you have all the components ready, you can assemble the lasagne in no time, the recipe looks long but the instructions are quite straight forward and some steps are completely optional. Like infusing the milk with herbs, spices and onion is optional but I think it enhances flavour of the dish significantly. It’s also a good dish to make when entertaining because it tastes best when it’s made ahead of time.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 5 cups whole milk
- 6-8 sage leaves
- 1 onion, peeled
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium butternut squash
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bolognese sauce (1/2 batch)
To assemble the lasagne:
- 9-12 sheets no boil lasagna noodles
- 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash, trim and cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, seed and place on the baking sheet cut side down. Bake until the squash is tender. Let the squash cool, remove the flesh using a spoon and transfer to a food processor, puree until smooth, add the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
To make the béchamel sauce, stud the onion with cloves, place it in a saucepan along with the milk, sage leaves and the bay leaf, let it come to a boil, remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the flour and whisk for about two minutes. Remove the sage, onion and bay leaf from the milk and pour it gradually into the roux and whisk vigorously, the mixture should be smooth and there should be no lumps (if there are lumps, use an immersion blender), continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg (season liberally because the pasta will absorb the sauce).
To assemble the lasagna, butter a 13 by 9 or 11 by 11 baking dish, spread about ¾ cup of the béchamel sauce, place the first layer of the lasagna noodles, spread the butternut squash mixture evenly, pour about a cup of the béchamel, and spread another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about a cup of the béchamel directly over the noodles and pour the Bolognese sauce, top again with about a cup of béchamel and layer the lasagna noodles, pour the remaining béchamel and top with the grated mozzarella cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 375°F, bake the lasagna until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly, let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.