After overstaying its welcome and behaving like a total jerk, winter will not be missed.
But if you're like me and held off eating your weight in winter veggies and carbs for fear of overdosing, then now's the time to go on a mad tear making up for lost time.
To think that this vegetarian (though decidedly un-vegan), bubbly, browned vision of butternutty beauty has been lying in wait all season long!
Make it before we and the veggies have sloughed off our thick skins and before the thought of wearing a bathing suit makes such an expenditure of cheese seem imprudent.
Butternut Squash Lasagne
Serves 6 to 8
- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 (2-3 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- chef's measure of salt and freshly-ground pepper, divided
- 5 amaretti cookies, crumbled
- water, as needed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3-1/2 cups whole milk
- pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 bunch fresh sage, plus 8 whole leaves
- 12 flat, no-boil lasagne noodles (like Barilla)
- 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roast the squash: Toss the squash with the olive oil and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Spread it onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until soft in the middles and golden on the edges.
Make the squash purée: Allow the squash to cool briefly and then transfer it to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies trusting that this small inclusion will make a big impact. Blend until smooth, adding water as necessary to achieve a texture a baby could manage. Taste and adjust the seasoning to a level that an adult would appreciate.
Make the besciamella: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until lump-less, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper. Add the sage sprig and bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. After it begins to thicken, drop the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the nutmeg plus any salt and pepper that's missing.
Assemble the lasagne: Lightly butter a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish. Spread a ladle-full of the besciamella over the bottom of the prepared dish. Arrange 3 lasagne noodles on top. Spread a quarter of the squash purée over the noodles. Add a blizzard of mozzarella and parmigiano and then another ladle of besciamella. Repeat this sequence 3 more times--on the final layer, put the cheese on top of the besciamella instead of the other way around. And don't be stingy. Finish strong.
Bake the lasagne: Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the foil and lay whole sage leaves on diagonals to mark the servings. Continue baking the lasagne uncovered until the whole thing looks and smells like the best thing you've ever done, about 15 minutes longer. Lick your lips for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into portions using the sage leaves as your guide.