So. I don’t think I’ve told you yet, but . . . I’m not a giant fan of tomato sauce. I know. Please don’t harm me, Italian friends. I still like your bread. And your wine.
Obviously, I have eaten some very delicious meals with tomato sauce. However, it’s just not my sauce of choice. It never has been.
I’ve talked about how Thursday nights were pasta nights in our house when I was growing up. Otherwise known as: the nights I would starve. I was such a little jerk. For a few years, I’d have a breakdown on Thursdays because I just really did not like tomato sauce and did not want to eat pasta. Then I learned to eat cereal, and soon enough, learned to coat my noodles in tons of melted butter, garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese. That was a good day. All was right in the world.
But because of this, lasagna wasn’t something I went after. There isn’t one ounce of Italian blood in my family (all right, maybe there is SOMEWHERE way way back), so that should at least explain this whole not-liking-sauce mess.
I’ve always loved the idea of lasagna, though: the layers, the noodles, the cheese upon cheese upon cheese. If only it could be something other than red-sauced and meaty.
So now it is.
Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Lasagna
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (6 cups)
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, browned
Mascarpone Bechamel Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated, Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 tsp salt
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 16 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked or no-boil
- 8 oz Fontina cheese, freshly grated
- 10 fresh sage leaves, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Heat a large skillet over low to medium heat and add the coconut oil. When melted, add the sage, garlic, and shallots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the butternut squash. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the squash is soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Toss the squash once or twice while cooking.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the squash mixture to a large bowl. Add the browned butter and use a fork or potato masher to coarsely mash the squash until it’s somewhat smooth and resembles mashed potatoes. Set aside.
For the béchamel, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it is sizzling, whisk in the flour and stir to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is golden brown and a nutty scent develops. Pour in the milk and whisk constantly until it has thickened slightly. Reduce the heat to low and add the mascarpone, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir continuously until the cheese melts, about 5 more minutes.
To assemble the lasagna, spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Layer 4 noodles on the bottom of the dish. Spread one-third of the squash mixture over the noodles evenly and sprinkle with 2 ounces of the Fontina cheese. Pour about 1⁄3 cup of the béchamel sauce over the top. Cover with 4 more lasagna noodles. Repeat the process, adding half of the remaining squash, 2 ounces of the cheese, and 1⁄3 cup béchamel. Add 4 more noodles. Repeat the process one more time, finishing with the remaining 4 noodles. Add the remaining Fontina on top and pour the remaining sauce all over. Cover the top with the sage leaves.
Bake the lasagna until the cheese on top is golden and bubbly and the sage leaves appear crispy, 45 to 60 minutes. Let the lasagna sit for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
Serves 4 to 6.
About the Author
Excerpted from SERIOUSLY DELISH © 2014 by Jessica Merchant. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.