Butternut Squash Lasagna Is the Perfect Cold-Weather Pasta Dish
Nix the tomato sauce and zucchini and cozy up with butternut squash lasagna (complete with a creamy white sauce) instead.
On his new PBS show, Field Trip with Curtis Stone, the chef travels the world in search of inspiration for his restaurants Maude and Gwen in Los Angeles. But his fave fish is one he eats at home with his family.
When I was in Italy as a young chef, I fell in love with lasagna. I liked the way it brought families together at the table. It’s so cheesy and saucy—the ultimate comfort food.
Butternut squash lasagna was one of the first meals I made for my wife, Lindsay. Now I prepare it for our family of four, and our kids are crazy about it too. I switch the recipe to use the freshest vegetables from our garden. In the fall, I pair butternut squash with a creamy white sauce and a hearty green, like kale. Summertime calls for tomato sauce and roasted zucchini and eggplant. (Pssst. Did you know you can make vegan mac 'n' cheese with butternut squash?)
Assembling and eating the lasagna are always a family event. The kids enjoy stacking, spreading, and building the dish. Sometimes Lindsay makes it and gives me the night off. When the lasagna is done, we place it in the middle of the table, and everyone sits down for a leisurely meal together. It is not only the perfect food but also the perfect evening. (Next up, try this Butternut Squash Zoodle Recipe with Alfredo.)
Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe
Start to Finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch collard greens, leaves only
- 7 to 9 oven ready lasagna sheets
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices
- 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a medium heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking frequently, for about 2 minutes, or until the butter and flour are well blended and beginning to smell toasted. Gradually whisk in half the milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Whisk in the remaining milk. Add the thyme and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Season the sauce with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, cover and keep warm. Discard the thyme stems before using the sauce.
- Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and greens and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to drain on paper towels.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. Lay 2 to 3 uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, breaking them to fit (do not worry if there’s space around the noodles, since they will expand as they cook). Lay half of the squash over the noodles followed by half of the greens. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Spoon 3/4 cup of the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering the noodles, vegetables, 3/4 cup of sauce, and the remaining mozzarella cheese one more time. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then spread with the remaining 1 cup of sauce. Gently press the lasagna down to allow the sauce to come up over the noodles.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the lasagna sheets are tender and the lasagna is heated through (if you insert a knife into the center of the lasagna for 10 seconds, it should feel hot after you pull it out). Remove the foil and sprinkle the Parmesan over the lasagna. Preheat the broiler. Broil the lasagna, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the lasagna is golden brown on top. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Make It Ahead: The lasagna can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated. When you’re ready to eat it, simply wrap it with foil and reheat in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until warmed through.