I picked up a variety of winter squash this weekend—butternut, delicata, and spaghetti—and it’s easy to let them be the inspiration, the star in a meal. Butternut is my favorite, especially in risotto, but today, I’m making it the star of lasagna, along with bacon, sage, shiitake mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. I’m leaving out the heavy cheeses—ricotta and mozzarella—so that the squash stands out. Still, it will be plenty rich enough, even though I’m making the béchamel with 2% milk.
The combination of squash and sage produced a sweet filling with floral notes. My husband pretended to not know what that means, although I know he knows what a flower is.
Roast the squash ahead of time:
Infuse the butter for the béchamel with sage leaves, remove, then brown the mushrooms:
Make layers of no-boil noodles, squash, bacon, béchamel, and parmesan:
Bake, covered with foil for 30 mins, then uncovered for about 20 mins or until browned and noodles are done:
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Roast Squash and Bacon
Preheat oven to 400°
about 4 lbs butternut squash (I had two medium squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
6-8 slices thick-sliced bacon
- Peel, seed, and cut squash into 1/2 inch dice.
- Toss with olive oil and spread out on non-stick baking pan or pan lined with parchment. My sheet was a little overcrowded, but it worked out fine.
- Roast for about 30 mins or until tender and browned.
- Put bacon slices on a second pan lined with non-stick foil. Put it on a second shelf or put it in the oven when the squash is done. The bacon only needs 15 mins.
- Set squash aside to cool or refrigerate if making another day. Chop or break bacon into small crumble.
Make Béchamel (medium white sauce)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
salt & pepper
4 cups milk (I used 2%)
fresh sage leaves, about 6-8 leaves
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
- Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat with sage leaves, cooking until you can smell the sage and the butter is bubbling. Remove the sage leaves.
- Brown the mushrooms in the butter—about 5 minutes or until browned.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Stir in flour until combined and free of lumps. You could add a little more butter or a little oil, if you think too much has been absorbed by the mushrooms. Usually if you cook them long enough, they give back the fat. You can tell if you need more if the mixture is dry and the flour cannot be completely incorporated.
- Slowly pour in the milk, which you can warm in the microwave first for quicker cooking. Just once, I’d like to find a measuring cup that pours without running its contents down the side and onto the stove and floor.
- Stir until the sauce is thickened, maybe 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
Assemble Lasagna and Bake
Preheat oven to 350° (or lower if you just made the squash and bacon)
Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish
1 package whole wheat, no-boil lasagna noodles
2-3 cups shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Place one cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish.
- Arrange three lasagna noodles over the sauce, evenly spaced in the dish. You could certainly use more if you are concerned about covering every inch of the dish, but the servings are easier to cut if the noodles are fewer.
- Arrange half the roasted squash over the noodles, sprinkle with half the bacon, cover with 1/3 the sauce and up to 1 cup of the cheese.
- Top with three more noodles and make a second layer as the first.
- Top the second layer of filling with three more noodles. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil that is tented a little—it helps if the foil has a non-stick side against the casserole.
- Bake for at least 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and the noodles are tender.