Butternut squash lasagna is my ideal comfort food. Savory, cheesy, noodle‑y, but still delicate and with some veggies to ease the guilt. The first time I made this lasagna I followed the directions exactly. This time, I experimented with some shortcuts (pesto, hand-held blender), lightened the recipe some, and also added turkey sausage for texture and a bit of protein. I like my shortcut version just as much, if not more, than the original version and hope you do, too. If you don’t have any vegetables to steam, a simple tossed salad would taste good with this entree.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1‑inch cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1 tablespoon amaretto
1/4 cup (55 g) butter
1/4 cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups (820 ml) milk
3 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store bought)
12 to 16 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups (280 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz (225 g) turkey sausage, browned and crumbled (optional)
1/3 cup (30 g) grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy, large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over a medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Stir in the amaretto. Season the squash puree to taste with more salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg and cool slightly. Stir in the pesto. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
Lightly butter a 13 x 9 x 2‑inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 to 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread one-third of the squash puree over the noodles. Spread one-third of the sausage (if using) over the puree. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup (55 g) of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup (120 ml) of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times, ending with a layer of noodles covered with sauce.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.