My mom makes a damn fine lasagna. To the point where I stopped ordering lasagna at restaurants because what I was served wouldn’t compare. To the point where I didn’t try my hand at lasagna until this past year.
First was a failed attempt in spring, when I (tried to) capture spinach and roasted asparagus in lasagna form. The intent was delicious, but the result a touch dry. Enter last month’s issue of Bon Appetit, which featured a too-good-to-pass-up fall lasagna centered around festive, sweet butternut squash. A perfect vegetable to ring in fall with.
Be forewarned that I would categorize this as either a weekend meal, where you can take the time to put the ingredients together and enjoy with a glass of wine in the evening; or, better yet – because even a halfed recipe makes a ton – invite some friends over and enjoy many glasses of wine.
Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna, adapted from Bon Apetit
- 1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, havled, seeded, and cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems and spines removed
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 1/2 lb reduced fat ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
For the béchamel and assembly, you’ll need:
- 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (because unless you’re making homemade, these are just as good as the kind you boil)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 cups of milk – whole or 1%
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup finely grate parmesan
Heat your over to 400. Place the squash and the olive oil in a large bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to ensure the squash is evenly coated. Transfer to two foil-lined baking sheets, spreading out in a single layer. Roast until cool, but not overly soft (BA used the term “mushy”): about 15 minutes. Let cool. I turned off my over at about the 10 minute mark and then just allowed the squash to cool in there while I made the rest of the lasagna.
Blanch the kale in a large pot of boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Chop roughly and return to a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Mix together the mozzarella and next five ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. All of these steps you can assemble ahead of time. I prepped the ingredients in the morning, putting the cheese and kale in the refrigerator (left the squash in the oven), before Casey and I went about some normal and not so normal (open house crashing) weekend errands.
To make the béchamel: melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour. Stir until thickened , about 2-3 minus. Increase the heat slightly and add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir between each addition, giving the sauce a chance to thicken. Add nutmeg and salt and white pepper.
Reduce heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, until sauce is the consistency of a milk shake. BA then strained their sauce through a mesh sieve. I did not and it still worked out just fine.
Soak your no-boil noodles in room temperature water prior to using. In an 8-inch square casserole, lade 1/4 cup béchamel. Spread evenly over the bottom. Line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of noodles. Layer 1/3 of the squash and kale over the next. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture randomly over the veggies. Drizzle about a 1/2 up of béchamel on this layer. Repeat this process, layer your noodles in perpendicular direction to the noodles directly below it (latticing your layers?). We had some extra italian sausage in the fridge and added those to one layer (see picture above). Finish with a layer of noodles. Pour any remaining béchamel over the top, cover with Parmesan.
Bake lasagna at 375 uncovered until bubbly and starting to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.