Fall. Autumn. Whatever you want to call it, it’s quickly becoming my favorite season. Summer fruits are great, and spring has the wonderful warming feeling. (I’ll admit I don’t like winter except for the holidays.) But autumn has the perfect weather, and starts reintroducing us to our favorite comfort foods. I got the first basket of my fall CSA last week, and we’re starting to drown in squashes.
I picked up this recipe from a cooking class, featuring the owners from one of my favorite local restaurants. So, I’m just going to include an outline for the recipe, rather than the details, but it’s pretty flexible.
- diced butternut squash (my lasagna was made in a 9×9 inch square pan and used about two pounds)
- lasagna noodles (whichever kind you prefer)
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- grated parmesan cheese
- herbs or spices (such as sage, cinnamon, nutmeg)
- bechamel sauce (basic recipe below)
- Saute the butternut squash with some olive oil and spices. When softened, transfer to a food processor, and process until smooth.
- Make your bechamel sauce and cook any other fillings you might want. I added Italian sausage, and I’ve had a version with pecans that was really good. I think the next version I try will have cremini mushrooms.
- Build your lasagna: a layer of bechamel sauce, then noodles, then butternut (and your other chosen filling) then mozzarella, and repeat. Top with a final layer of mozzarella and the grated parmesan.
- Cover and bake about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Uncover for another 15 minutes until the top is bubbly and brown. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Bechamel sauce is a basic white sauce and one of the French “mother” sauces, and it’s not that hard to make. I was making it before I knew what it was. Three ingredients is all you need.
- Flour (equal amount to the Butter)
- Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan until it bubbles, but isn’t brown. Add the flour and whisk until it forms a paste, about 1 minute.
- Add the milk slowly, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to prevent scorching (especially if using cream), and whisk until thickened to a consistency you like.