This recipe is my second entry in the Foodista Best of the Food Blogs Cookbook contest. The other one is my Meyer Lemon Sorbet. As Donkey says in the movie Shrek, “Pick me!”, if you are so inclined. Thanks!
You may have already noticed that I love squash. It is the perfect comfort food and is synonymous with Fall and Winter. I am a huge fan of butternut squash lasagna, however, it is a very rich dish that is sometimes a bit too sweet. It also makes enough for 8 to 10 people and there are only 2 of us.
I decided to create a lasagna that I could make in small portions that would also be elegant to serve for a dinner party should I want to make it in larger amounts. This also would avoid the problem of leftovers that are not always so good with butternut squash lasagna.
This is a beautiful and yes, rich dish, however, the portion is a nice size. I made the dish using Barilla’s no boil lasagna noodles which makes a square portion approximately 3 1/2 x 4 inches. You could, of course, make your own pasta, however, these are easier and are delicious in the dish.
Since there are a number of steps involved, my suggestion would be to make the fillings ahead, soak the noodles and then make the béchamel. Once you have assembled the lasagna and your dish is baking, gather the ingredients to make the butter sauce. You can then top the lasagna with the butter sauce, freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and serve it for a romantic dinner for 2 or a dinner party for 6. I have made the recipe so that it should be easy to cut the ingredients in half (to serve 2) or add extra servings, as needed.
By the way, this dish has the major thumbs up and the ultimate hubby stamp of approval. That is generally the highest compliment (because he is incredibly picky!), so I hope you will enjoy this as much as he does!
Rustic Acorn Squash Lasagna with Browned Butter Sauce
Acorn Squash Filling
2 whole small acorn squash
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds. Turn halves upside down in a baking dish. pour in about 1 inch of water. Bake until flesh is cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Turn right side up and cool enough to handle. Scoop out cooked flesh, put in a bowl and mix with rest of ingredients. Set aside.
Ricotta Cheese Filling
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (Calabro is my first choice. It is the best I have found.)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or to taste depending on your cheeses)
Mix all the ingredients together and set aside. Refrigerate if necessary.
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
5 Tbsp. flour
5 cups whole milk
1 fresh Bay leaf
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
Melt butter over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Slowly add milk in a stream, whisking constantly. Add bay leaf and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes until thickened and reduced. Add salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Remove from heat and place in a bowl large enough to dip lasagna sheets. Cover with plastic until ready to use.
8 Barilla no boil lasagna noodles
Place noodles in a Pyrex dish. Boil water and pour over noodles to cover. Be sure to separate them gently so they do not stick together. Let sit about 5 minutes until pliable. Remove and place on kitchen towel until ready to use. Cover.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking dish with butter that is large enough to hold assembled lasagna. Cut noodles in half. Dip noodle halves in béchamel (be sure to coat completely). Place in baking dish and top each with about 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. ricotta mixture. (Do not spread out completely as mixture will spread during baking.) Repeat with another noodle half, dipping in béchamel. Place on top of cheese and then spread with about 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp. squash mixture. Dip another noodle half in béchamel, place on top of squash and top with another 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp. ricotta. Finish lasagna with one more noodle half dipped in béchamel. You can use a bit more of the fillings, but it will weigh down the noodles. (There will be a little bit of the fillings leftover if you use 2 1/2 Tbsp per layer.)
Cover dish with aluminum foil (be sure dish is deep enough so the foil does not hit the top of the lasagna). Bake 20 minutes until heated through. Let this rest while you make the browned butter sauce. * A little of the cheese will spread out from the lasagna, but just scoop up the cheesy goodness along with the lasagna before serving!
Browned Butter Sauce
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
12 sage leaves, chopped
Additional Parmesan Reggiano for serving
Melt butter in a pan on low heat. Add sage and stir and cook until butter is almost brown. Pour over lasagna and serve with grated Parmesan Reggiano.