Mmm....lasagna. Possibly one of my favorite comfort foods. I love all types of lasagna; traditional, white, vegetarian, even a little seafood thrown it. I love that feeling of satisfaction when you cut that first piece, pull it out of the baking dish and realize you have the perfect ration of ingredients; not so saucy that it starts to fall apart but not dry either. Lasagna is always a great way to feed a crowd, and in fact that's where this recipe started.
By the time Thanksgiving had rolled around, I had cooked and eaten Thanksgiving food several times in an effort to perfect the recipes I posted here. So I knew that on Thanksgiving I did not want turkey. Ryan and I had a few friends over for a "friendsgiving" (I'm not sure how I feel about that term, aren't friends considered family?) A couple of our guests follow a vegetarian diet and having been a vegetarian for a period of 10 years, I am always sympathetic to the restrictions. There have been many gatherings where I have not been able to eat much, simply because someone added bacon to a salad or a side dish. So vegetarian "friendsgiving" happened this year and it was a blast. Great company, great food, and always great wine. I hope it becomes a yearly tradition.
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed, and dice a medium sized butternut squash. In a large bowl, combine the squash, two whole cloves of peeled garlic, and one onion, roughly chopped. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Toss to combine and layer onto a baking sheet. Roast the squash, garlic, and onions about 30 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
In another large bowl, combine a 15 oz container ricotta cheese, and 4 oz of softened goat cheese. Grate in 1/2 cup each of parmesan cheese and pecorino romano. If you can't find rennet free cheese, you can leave the hard cheeses out. Many strict vegetarians will not eat cheese made using rennet.
Steam a large package of baby spinach (about 8 cups) until cooked through. I place mine in a plastic colander inside another bowl and microwave for 2 minutes at at time or until the spinach is fully cooked.
Cool and squeeze out any remaining water from the spinach. Alternatively you can use a package of frozen and defrosted spinach, again making sure to squeeze out all of the water. Add the spinach to the ricotta cheese mixture and combine well.
When the butternut squash is cooked, use a blender or food processor to puree. Make sure to remove the center vent from either appliance and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Hot foods expand when blending and the pressure created could cause literally a "hot mess".
Preheat oven to 350. Assemble the lasagna. I used two cheats for this recipe. First I used the no-boil lasagna noodles and second, I used jarred sauce. If you want to take the time to make a homemade sauce, you can certainly do so, but there are so many good options for pasta sauce now that aren't loaded with salt that I don't feel guilty making this shortcut.
Spoon a bit of sauce to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer three noodles. Follow with a third of the cheese mixture. Top that with a third of the butternut squash puree. Top the squash with a third of your remaining sauce, and finally, a third of your shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat these steps two more times creating three full layers of ingredients. It'll look messy and you might need to get in there with your hands to spread the cheese around, but everything will cook together in the end. For the final layer, top the mozzarella cheese with another 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan if desired.
Bake lasagna in a 350 degree oven 40 minutes, covering with tinfoil for the last 10. Unless you want your cheese really browned and chewy on the top, the tinfoil is necessary for the last bit of baking. Cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
I served this as the main course for Thanksgiving dinner, after cream of asparagus soup (minus the scallops of course.) With a vegetarian caesar salad on the side, it was really fantastic and I think we all ate a bit too much. This would be a perfect dish for any gathering and can be refrigerated overnight before baking.
Butternut Squash LasagnaBy Land of Noms, December 26, 2014
- 1 medium sized butternut squash
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
- 4 oz of softened goat cheese
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
- 12 oz package of baby spinach
- 9 no boil lasagna noodles
- 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
- 16 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Peel, seed, and dice butternut squash
- In a large bowl, combine squash, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil
- Spread squash and onions out on a baking sheet and roast for 30 mintues or until soft when pierced with a fork
- In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan and pecorino romano cheeses, mix well
- Steam and drain baby spinach, removing as much water as possible; add to cheese and mix well
- Cool roasted squash slightly, and puree in a blender or food processor
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- To assemble lasagna, spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan
- Lay three noodles on top of sauce, follow with 1/3 of the cheese mixture; spread evenly and follow with 1/3 of the butternut squash spread evenly
- Top squash with 1/3 of the remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese on top; repeat layers two more times
- For the final layer, top mozzarella cheese with remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
- Bake 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven, covering with tinfoil for the last 10 minutes; cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!