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Author Notes: This recipe developed after I discovered that butternut squash with goat cheese makes a marvelous pasta sauce, and after I made moussaka that had the best bechamel I'd ever made. One day I found myself with some extra butternut squash puree, and I began fiddling with assorted ingredients, having little idea where I'd eventually wind up. This wound up being it. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. —Kayb
For the lasagna
- 1 pound fresh, or cooked, lasagna noodles
- 2 cups butternut squash flesh, cooked
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 8 ounces fresh ricotta or mozzarella
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 1/2 cups bechamel (recipe follows)
- 1 pound fresh baby spinach, sauteed
- olive oil for sauteeing
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Saute onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft; add garlic and saute for another minute. Add butternut squash flesh and stir well; crumble goat cheese and stir into hot mixture over low heat until well melted. Set aside.
- If using spinach (or any other fresh greens), saute in olive oil until limp and set aside to cool. Break up and saute Italian sausage until done. Drain.
- To make bechamel, heat water and 3/4 cup cream to a near-boil. Meanwhile, stir cornstarch into remaining cream, whisking until there are no lumps, and beat egg into that mixture.
- Pour a little of the hot water-cream mixture into the cream/cornstarch/egg mixture, blend, and pour back into saucepan. Add nutmeg.
- Cook, stirring or whisking, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
- Put a scant 1/4 cup bechamel in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add in layers, lasagna noodles, half of squash mixture, half of spinach, half of sausage, half of ricotta or mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmigiano, and 3/4 cup bechamel. Repeat. Top with a layer of noodles, the remaining bechamel, and the remaining parmigiano.
- At this point, you can hold in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour, covering loosely with foil for first 30 minutes.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Baked Pasta