Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna

I have a very vivid memory of the last time I ate butternut squash: It was March 2003 and I was in a restaurant in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where I ate butternut squash soup while President Bush declared war on Iraq on a nearby television.  I’ll never forget it.  It was the first time I’d had butternut squash and may be why it’s been so long since I’ve tried it again.  I was a vegetarian then and although I liked the soup, I remember thinking it was very rich and I couldn’t finish it.  This recipe for Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna is the first time I’ve ever cooked anything with butternut squash before.  If you aren’t sure how to peel or cut a butternut squash, check out this website which helped me.  The butternut squash is roasted in the oven with garlic until soft and sweet.  Meanwhile, onions are slowly caramelized and spinach is wilted in a pan on the stove.  These soft veggies are all piled between layers of no-boil lasagna noodles (one less step!) and a creamy, cheesy bechemel sauce.  This vegetarian lasagna takes a little preparation but if you like a savory dish with a hint of sweetness, you’ll probably like this.

The ingredients (ignore the diced tomatoes, my mistake!):

Peel and chop the butternut squash.  Add to a baking sheet with sage and garlic (leave garlic whole, not chopped like I did) and roast in the oven for half an hour at 425°F.  Once mixture has cooled slightly, pour into a bowl and mash with a fork.

While squash roasts, sauté the onions in oil for a few minutes.  Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes until soft and caramelized.  Set aside in a bowl.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, add water and spinach and cover until spinach is wilted.  Add spinach to bowl with onions.

In a separate saucepan, bring milk, thyme sprig and bay leaf to a boil.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf and return the pan to heat.  In a small bowl, combine remaining milk and flour.  Add mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil.

Once bechemel is thickened, add salt, cheese, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

In a baking dish, layer bechemel sauce, lasagna noodles, and veggies (in that order) and repeat, ending with noodles. 

Cover last layer of noodles with remaining bechemel sauce and bake at 425° for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of lasagna and broil until golden brown.

Additions: 

  • Parmesan cheese on top

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Italian four-cheese for fontina (because I had it on hand)

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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