This recipe was born for two reasons, the first one being that I love butternut squash (any squash, really!). The other is that one person in my family isn’t supposed to eat a lot of tomatoes, so I was trying to make a delicious lasagna dish that was tomato-less. This dish is great for the holidays, and although it’s got some rich ingredients, it’s also got a healthy balance with whole wheat pasta and some veggies (which you can always add more of).
Make sure you use fresh sage in this one – it’s such an important ingredient that it really needs to shine.
1 box of whole wheat lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced into circles (use the top part only and save the bottom part where the seeds are for another recipe)
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 cups of fresh spinach
1 .75oz package of sage, divided (if you’ve grown your own, grab a big handful)
1 32oz tub of ricotta (I used part skim)
up to 3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, depending on your taste
For the white sauce:
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons of your sage, chopped
a few cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Begin by making the white sauce. In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter. If you are using garlic, cook it briefly in the butter (2-3 minutes). Next, add the flour to the butter and whisk it together until smooth. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, making sure that the flour/butter mixture incorporates with the milk. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce is thick and creamy. Don’t forget to stir frequently. Add the sage and the parmesan cheese about 1-2 minutes before removing the sauce from the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the nutmeg into the ricotta cheese.
Now you should be ready to assemble. Spread a layer of white sauce or ricotta in the bottom of your lasagna pan. Drop the circles of butternut squash down in the pan side by side – you should be able to get at least nine in there depending on the size of your squash and the size of your pan. Layer the noodles, spinach, mozzarella cheese, remaining sage, butternut squash, white sauce, and ricotta until you run out or fill the pan. Be sure to save some mozzarella cheese for the very top to lock in some of the moisture.
Bake in a 400˚ oven for 40-60 minutes or until the slices of squash are soft. You may want to cover the pan with aluminum foil until the last 10-15 minutes to prevent it from over browning.
Annnd lasagna is not the prettiest thing to photograph, especially during dinner rush with the family, but here’s a picture of the finished product.