This autumnal spin on lasagna is perfect for a cozy night in, as a side at your thanksgiving table or served as a main for a festive holiday dinner. All the elements can be prepped ahead of time and popped in the oven when guests arrive, making it an easy entertaining meal. If you have leftovers, enjoy in the days to come or freeze and save for a busy week.
Butternut Squash + Sage Lasagna
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1⁄4 cup for frying sage leaves 1 tablespoon agave 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes Pinch of salt + freshly ground pepper 2 cups whole milk ricotta Zest from 2 lemons 2 cups shredded mozzarella 6 slices fresh mozzarella (optional) 1 lb lasagna noodles For the béchamel 6 tablespoons butter 4 cloves garlic, grated Handful of fresh sage leaves (about 12-15), plus more for garnish 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme 1⁄4 cup flour 2 cups whole milk 2 cups vegetable broth or water 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400F. On a large baking sheet, toss butternut squash with olive oil, agave, red pepper flakes, salt + pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes until butternut squash is tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use. If you plan to make the lasagna the next day, transfer roasted butternut squash to the refrigerator and store in an airtight container. To make the béchamel, heat butter in a large skillet (or sauce pan) over medium heat. Add garlic, sage and rosemary / thyme and cook until the butter starts to brown and herbs are fragrant. Remove herbs and whisk in flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture has thickened (it should look like a thick paste). Whisk in milk and broth / water along with nutmeg, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until thickened, about 3-4 minutes, taking care to not scorch the milk. Once mixture has thickened, remove from heat. stir in parmesan and set aside.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles, following the instructions on the box for al dente noodles. Many people opt to use no-bake noodles for lasagna, but I find cooking them al dente makes for a smoother, creamier lasagna. While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, mash roasted butternut squash until creamy. Add in ricotta, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper, if needed, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. Once pasta is cooked, it’s time to assemble the lasagna. In a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish, spread a thin layer of béchamel on the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of noodles, 1/3 of your butternut squash and ricotta mixture and 2-3 ladles of béchamel. Repeat layers (noodles, butternut squash, béchamel) and top the final layer with béchamel and a mixture of shredded mozzarella and sliced fresh mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes until béchamel is bubbling and layers are cooked through. While lasagna is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1⁄4 cup of olive oil. Once oil is hot (I test by flicking a little water in and seeing if it sizzles), add remaining sage leaves to the pan. Fry for a few seconds until edges start to shrink and flip to lightly fry the other side, another 2-3 seconds. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Remove foil from lasagna and continue bake until the top layer fully melts and cheese begins to turn golden brown on the edges, about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Top with fried sage leaves + enjoy.