Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

See, I told you I would make something that feels like fall. Butternut squash lasagna is one of my favorite fall dishes, and I make it several times each year. It's sweet and cheesy and makes the whole house smell delicious. I have tried a few different recipes and this one is my favorite. Originally created by Giada de Laurentiis, and slightly adapted by my friend, Sarah. Giada calls for amaretti, crisp cookies made from almond paste, but Sarah used coconut macaroons, and woah was it good. So that's what I now use, especially as they are easier to find (actually I just used a bit of sweetened coconut, toasted this last time).

This lasagna does not have any ricotta, and surprisingly for butternut squash lasagna, it doesn't have sage either. It has luscious layers of a basil bechamel sauce, sweet butternut squash, and cheese. It almost tastes like dessert.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

1-2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 amaretti or macaroon cookies
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cup milk (preferably whole)
1 tbsp nutmeg
3/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles (or fresh lasagna sheets, in the refrigerated section)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. On a large cookie sheet, toss the butternut squash cubes with 1 tbsp olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Squash should be tender but not mushy. Cool slightly, then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the crumbled macaroon cookies and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until thick and bubbly. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce to medium and simmer until sauce thickens. Stir often. Whisk in the nutmeg, and let cool slightly.

In the cleaned food processor (or blender), quickly chop the basil leaves. Add 3-4 ladles of the B├ęchamel (white sauce) into the food processor and blend together. Transfer the basil sauce back to the cooking pot and whisk together. Season with plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly spray a 9x13 inch dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the B├ęchamel sauce to the bottom of the dish, and arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the top. Repeat these layers three more times, finishing with mozzarella.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese; continue baking uncovered for 15 minutes, until sauce bubbles. Let lasagna stand for 5 minutes before serving.


  1. So cool! Thanx for posting this. I can't wait to get over to Lassens to buy the gluten-free lasagne so I can make this!

  2. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Saw this on Slim Paley--looks amazing!

  4. I'm going to make this for Girl's Night!

  5. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Made this last night. It's very good, but I would also perhaps trying the following modifications: mash the squash to leave more texture, pureeing gives a baby food-like consistency and the texture of the squash would hold up nicely to that of the noodles. adding even more basil would add more flavor. be liberal with the cheese! i didn't have any cookies on hand, so i added some brown sugar and a few tablespoons of amaretto and i think they added a nice flavor.

  6. OMG Marina, I made this this week. YUM! I LOVE Fall :)...and all the food that comes with it...especially from this blog! This recipe was so good! A little labor intensive, but good and so worth it.

  7. I made this last night for my friends and absolutely LOVED it. Made it in the afternoon which meant I could spend time chatting with my guests while it baked in the oven, instead of spending all my time in the kitchen. Thanks for the recipe (and the advice on Twitter!).

  8. Anonymous5:26 AM

    I am wondering if there is a way to add protein to this recipe. Would it work to add chicken? Or maybe chickpeas to the squash layers? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! That's a great question. If you want to boost the protein, I think cannellini beans or chickpeas would be a great addition. You can also always add nutritional yeast to cheese mixtures. I really like hemp hearts as well. Some sauteed dark leafy greens would be the prefect side and would add protein too.


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