Butternut squash needs our help. Occasionally you will come across a sweet and delicious curvy squash, velvety and bright and densely textured. But more often it lacks flavor in comparison with the kabocha, sweet dumpling, or pumpkin. The flesh can be watery and the skin hard to contend with. That being said, butternut squash is the most widely available winter squash. In the fall there are mountains of it at any grocery store, and a single squash can create many meals. Cook up a batch of silky Butternut Squash Puree and you have the basis for soup like Butternut Red Lentil Dal or even dessert .
This lasagna uses every squash-bolstering trick at once, and it’s wonderful special-occasion food. Pasta, cheese, pesto, and—most of all—sage brown butter all make butternut squash sing. Like any lasagna, there are many elements involved, but if you have squash puree and roasted tomatoes in the freezer, it can come together quickly. The star here is really the sage. It infuses the butter between every layer, and then crispy sage leaves decorate the top.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 4 cups Butternut Squash Puree
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (if using unsalted ricotta)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
- 4 cups stemmed, chopped kale (from about ½ bunch)
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic (4 to 5 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 0.33 cup olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 20 fresh sage leaves
- 1 pound dried lasagna noodles, partially cooked (if you are using fresh pasta, leave it raw)
- 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 whole defrosted roasted tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes
Making the Filling
- Combine the squash puree, ricotta, nutmeg, salt, eggs, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir well. Make the Pesto
- Combine the kale, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until you have a uniform mixture. Add the olive oil and Parmesan, and pulse again.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan set over medium heat. Stir constantly, keeping a close eye on the color of the butter. When the foam subsides and the butter turns slightly brown, 3 to 4 minutes, add the sage leaves. As the sage leaves start to curl, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the leaves to a paper-towel-lined plate. Assemble the Lasagna
- Spread several spoonfuls of the ricotta filling on the base of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Top with a quarter of the noodles, then drizzle the noodles with one-quarter of the sage brown butter. Spread one-quarter of the pesto willy-nilly over the butter. Then layer in one-third of the remaining ricotta mixture and one-quarter of the Parmesan. Repeat this process twice more, then finish with the last of the noodles and the rest of the sage butter. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the noodles. Top with the crispy sage leaves and a final dousing of Parmesan. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook until the lasagna bubbles, about 5 minutes more. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting.