Butternut Squash-Arugula Lasagna

Butternut squash lasagna. Photos by Keri White

Although this dish has a decidedly autumnal tinge, many farmers markets are still selling various varietals of squash, so it allows for the showcasing of local produce even this time of year.

Yes, it requires several steps, but none are complicated. And because the dish freezes well, making two pans is a great way to save time and bank a meal for a future night. I did just that last week, and my daughter took the spare to Vermont for a ski weekend, along with a pan of regular lasagna: jewishexponent.com/2017/11/01/ricotta-cheese-super-ingredient/. The verdict: “Both were delicious, but the butternut squash wins.”

I used a butternut squash for this, but kabocha, acorn or any starchy, orange varietal is appropriate. I also used fresh lasagna sheets — these can be a bit tricky to find but will produce a spectacular result. Added bonus: They avoid the additional step of precooking the noodles. But regular noodles will work fine here. If you use the “no-cook” dry noodles, be sure to check the liquid requirements, and adjust the recipe accordingly.

The quantities below are approximations; I ended up with enough extra ingredients to make an additional smaller lasagna — should that happen to you, grab another pan and celebrate!

Serves 4 | Dairy

For the squash:
1 butternut or other large squash cut in large wedges, seeds removed
Spray of oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment.

Place the squash pieces on the parchment and spray them with oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove the squash from oven, and allow it to cool. Scoop the flesh of the squash from the skin, and set it aside.

For the bechamel:
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

When the squash is almost done, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté until just fragrant. Add the flour, and stir to make a smooth roux. Add milk, whisk until smooth and add the cheese. Remove it from the heat. Assemble the lasagna.

For the lasagna:
4 fresh lasagna sheets cut to fit pan
1 pint ricotta cheese
Oregano/garlic powder/salt/pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 cups fresh arugula
¾ cup vegetable broth (separated)

In the bottom of a square pan, place ¼ cup vegetable broth. In a single layer, place the lasagna noodles (cut to fit; these can be assembled as patchwork as needed to cover the surface).

Add a layer of squash, lightly mashed down. Add a handful of arugula and a layer of the bechamel sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Add a layer of ricotta cheese, sprinkled generously with seasonings. Add a handful of grated mozzarella.

Repeat this sequence until all ingredients are used, ending with the grated mozzarella on top. If ingredients remain after you fill the pan, make another batch and freeze it!

When ready to cook, heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the remaining ½ cup of vegetable broth over the top of the lasagna. Cover and bake for about 40 minutes until cooked through; remove the cover for 5-10 minutes until the topping is bubbling and beginning to brown.

Let it sit for a few minutes, and enjoy.


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