Warm and seasonal. This Butternut Squash Lasagna makes you welcome the cooler months.
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 cup milk
- kosher salt as needed
- 1 pound dried lasagna noodles (about 20 pieces)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus more for passing
- cooking spray
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoon good unsalted butter
- ½ cup fresh parsley, leaves only, minced
- 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 2 pound butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly crosswise
- ½ cup fresh sage, leaves only
- ½ cup canola oil, or similar
Cut an 8-inch square of cheese cloth and place the bay leaf, pepper corns, thyme sprigs, and parsley sprigs in the center. Bring up the ends and tie securely into a pouch. In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk and the herb and pepper filled pouch. Heat until hot, but not boiling. Simmer 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let steep, covered.
Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil, stir in a few tablespoons salt. Add the lasagna noodles and cook about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse well. Set aside laying flat on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.
In a small heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the canola oil until a thermometer reads 365 degrees F. It should be hot but not smoking. Working quickly and in small batches fry the sage leaves about 10 seconds and transfer them to a paper towel lined tray to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Save the oil.
In a medium-sized saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved sage infused oil over medium heat. Working in batches cook the squash slices in a single layer until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Continue until all the slices are cooked adding more oil as needed. Transfer them to a paper towel lined tray to drain. Sprinkle the cooked squash with salt, cayenne and ground pepper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta and minced parsley. Set aside.
Make the white sauce: In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan, add the garlic and onion. Cook stirring often, until just beginning to color. Add the flour, stirring constantly, until the mixture is blended and cooked through. About 1 minute. Remove the herb and pepper pouch from the reserved milk and slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking all the while. Keep whisking until the sauce is thickened somewhat. Add salt and nutmeg to season. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Lay 3 strips of lasagna noodles along the bottom lengthwise. Add half the white sauce and spread evenly. Place 3 more strips of lasagna noodles on top, then layer on ½ of the squash slices. Crumble the fried sage on top of the squash. Place 3 more noodles on top. Spread a layer of all the ricotta evenly on top this layer of noodles. Add another layer with the remaining squash and crumbled sage. Then top all that with 3 more noodles, and the remaining white sauce. For the final layer. Lay 4 noodles across the lasagna lengthwise, overlapping each other slightly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake the lasagna until bubbly and nicely browned, about 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.