friends have expressed absolute delight about the advent of fall. in Colorado, i hiked on paths, where the sun shone brightly on golden aspen leaves, quaking in a light wind. in Washington, i paddled on glassy Baker Lake, where the reflection of the majestic peak mirrors its distant counterpart. ordinarily, it’s my favorite season. but this year, i’m simply not ready for summer to end. clinging to the vestiges of heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn, i’m going down kicking and screaming. that firmly stated, last weekend i acquiesced to my mother’s request to make something with northwest-grown butternut squash. and since the nearly two-pound fruit had tumbled out of the fridge and hit her squarely on the foot, i felt obligated to make something of substance. hence, my reluctant foray into fall.
regardless of the time of year—or state of mind—this butternut squash recipe is phenomenal. i serve it with a small spinach salad, splashed with vinaigrette. i’d encourage you to explore the original recipe to determine your own butternut squash true north. you can find mine here. the preparation is a bit of a process, so consider setting aside enough time to devote to it. the result is entirely worth the effort!
Butternut Squash Lasagna
a variation based on a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis/Food Network
1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) butternut squash, seeded
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup unbleached organic flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
dash of nutmeg
some chopped fresh thyme or fresh sage leaves
6 lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parrano (or Parmesan) cheese
- preheat oven to 350F.
- cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds.
- brush surface of each half with sunflower oil.
- cover cookie sheet with non-stick foil, and place squash on the cookie sheet pulp side down.
- bake for about 1 hour, 10 minutes or until the squash is soft.
- after the squash has cooled, remove pulp and transfer into a food processor.
- puree the squash, adding salt and pepper to taste. set aside.
- boil some water, and cook/drain lasagna noodles.
- at the same time, melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat.
- add the flour and whisk for 1 minute.
- gradually whisk in the milk.
- whisking frequently, bring the mixture (aka bechamel sauce) to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium heat and let the sauce thicken. keep whisking!
- whisk in the nutmeg and chopped, fresh thyme or sage.
- add salt and pepper to taste.
- lightly butter a 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish.
- prepare your assembly line of ingredients: sauce, lasagna, pureed squash, grated mozzarella, Parrano.
- spread 1/2 of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- arrange three of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
- smear 1/2 of the squash over the noodles.
- sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella over the squash.
- sprinkle 1/4 cup Parrano over the mozzarella.
- repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
- tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake your lasagna for 45 minutes.
- carefully remove the foil and pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.
- let stand for 15 minutes before serving.