Because the farmers’ market gods do not see fit to bestow seasonable, local produce upon us between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I stocked up on storage items last weekend — onions, potatoes and all manner of squash, plus another frozen tongue. It’ll be a long winter. But look, I’ve just gotta say: We need some new squash recipes around these parts. Roasted squash — excellent in a pinch. Good old squash soup — fine. It’s reliable, it’s easy, delicious and mostly unobjectionable, but I’m still kinda sick of it from last year, truth be told, so it might be a while before it graces my table and blog again.
In the interest of not boring myself or you (too late, they cry!) to death, I went all out and made a lasagna — something I never do. All those layers just kill me, but I was won over by this one. It was adapted from Giada’s recipe and was so good, I’ve got plans to make a few more updates and serve it as our Thanksgiving main course. This lasagna’s charms are subtle, but once it has you, it won’t let you go.
recipe after the jump
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna adapted from Everyday Italian
As I mentioned, I plan to adapt this even further next time. The dish wasn’t quite as sage-y as I’d like, so I’ll probably double the amount stated below. Also, I plan to add a whole head of roasted garlic to the bechamel and might use the mozzarella called for in the original recipe instead of the amadeus I already had in the fridge.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 large packages baby spinach leaves, wilted in olive oil
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 pound shredded amadeus (or other good melting) cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and garlic and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Season the squash puree to taste with more salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add chopped sage, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle 1/3 of the wilted spinach over the squash. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of amadeus cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining amadeus 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.