This recipe has been on my “to-do” list every Fall for the past two years, I swear…and now I have finally gotten around to making it! Ever since I tried Giada’s Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sauce, (which was TO-DIE-FOR) I knew I had to try her lasagna. My Husband is not a big fan of “out of the norm” dishes like this, so without him here it was the perfect time to tackle this!
Before I begin though, let me shoot out this disclaimer- yes, that is sage in the photo and NO, there is not actually any sage called for in this recipe. It uses basil. Why the false advertisement then? Well, my extra basil wilted in the fridge so all I had for a garnish was sage. But honestly… I think sage would make just as good of a seasoning herb, if not a better one, than basil for this dish. Just sayin’.
One of the things that I read a lot of in the reviews of this recipe was that there was a shortage of butternut squash puree. I took it upon myself to make extra butternut squash puree and fill the layers to the max so they were oozing squash. Plus, look at how beautiful the orange makes the layers look! I roasted my squash instead of boiling it. I also pureed it was a few splashes of milk to loosen it up so it wouldn’t be so dry. You definitely don’t want that. Oh and I didn’t have any amaretti cookies and couldn’t find an appropriate substitute so I just opted out : / Bummer…
And I am pretty sure I am one layer short as far as the lasagna noodles go. I used three and I think the recipe calls for four. That was all that I had thought and I think that it worked out perfectly with the division of the béchamel sauce and all. Honestly, I think it would have been dry if you had used four layers and had to divide the sauce again. I was stretching it as it was. I used homemade lasagna sheets for this. Straight up, freshly rolled and all. I didn’t even bother boiling them (mostly because I forgot…) and it came out perfect.
Ultimately, if you love your butternut squash in the Fall as I do, this dish is for you. It’s creamy and cheesy, loaded with lots of flavors. Plus it’s a fun twist on the classic red sauce lasagna, and seriously, it doesn’t hurt to change things up every once and a while!
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Serves: 8 to 10
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup water
- 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3½ cups whole milk
- Pinch nutmeg
- ¾ cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2½ cups (10 ounces) shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread ⅓ of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle ½ cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process at high speed until smooth.