Make this recipe ASAP. No really. It is an incredibly delicious comfort food that contains a good bit of healthy, making it one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made. On Friday afternoon I went to get my hair cut and colored (slow work day, not good!), and on my long, sunny walk home, tried to decide what to make for dinner. I had mussels and grilled bread on the brain, but at that very moment, I got a call from the hubs telling me he would be at work until 10. Since mussels don’t reheat well, I decided to make something that would. Despite the soaring temperatures and strong sun, I was craving butternut squash and pasta and decided to quickly Google a butternut squash lasagna recipe on my phone as I entered the store.
I decided to go with a Food Network recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. I love Giada, and just about everything she makes looks mouth-watering. I changed up the recipe by using about 2/3 of the cheese her recipe called for and adding pureed white beans in since I had a bunch left over and didn’t know what to do with them.
I started with a few cups of butternut squash.
I learned last winter at a cooking demo from Chef Corey Comeau how to make perfect butternut squash. . . by NOT adding water. I sautéed the squash in oil with a generous grind of black pepper. As it caramelized, the smell was tantalizing and incredible. Before it started to burn, I added a tiny bit of water and let it cook off. The result was tender, addictive squash.
I decided to puree it up with the beans to create a creamy, healthy lasagna filling, and boy was it a good idea!
It’s also my new favorite bean dip. Grilled bread plus this mixture, and you have an amazing, healthy appetizer.
Once the butternut squash was all set, I got started on the white sauce for the lasagna.
The sauce is simple, a butter and flour roux, four cups of whole milk, and a giant handful of basil. This beautiful, fragrant organic basil is nestled in a little jug that used to belong to my nana. My nana is in a nursing home, so I have some of her beautiful vases and dishes. She has had some health scares recently, including a bad fall last week, and I have been treasuring these items more than ever. She will be 97 on November 6, and I am so lucky to have her in my life.
Definitely be sure to add fresh basil to this dish. It made all the difference in the sauce. Smelled amazing.
For my lasagna noodles, I used these Culinary Circle noodles from Shaw’s. I kind of love it when a store brand has a fancy label, and these noodles were of good quality and very inexpensive.
Once I had the sauce bubbling, I added the bit that is so important in a white sauce, fresh ground nutmeg. Thank you, Grenada honeymoon! We seriously have a never ending supply of nutmeg, and it’s as good today as it was five years ago. It makes such a nice addition to a cream or milk based sauce.
Putting the lasagna together was easy. I simply added some sauce to a casserole dish and started the layering, noodles, butternut squash puree, mozzarella cheese, sauce, repeat,
I wrapped the lasagna tightly in foil and cooked it for about 30 minutes at 375. At that point I removed the foil and added a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan and put the lasagna back in the oven for about 15 minutes to get all brown and bubbly.
Yum. I can’t even describe how good this dish was. It was so rich and creamy with lots of different flavors from the sweet butternut squash, the basil, and the cheese. It was excellent reheated the next day as well. I loved being able to sneak an extra bit of nutrition in with the white beans, and they definitely made it more filling.
It still feels like summer (and I am a-okay with that!), but it was nice to delve a little bit into fall with a seasonal dish.
What’s your favorite butternut squash recipe?