This Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe is near and dear to my heart. It’s actually an original recipe of mine from my now-retired blog, The Midnight Cook. Developing this recipe was truly a long and intense process. Eventually, after working through countless batches of lasagna trial and error, I had a recipe that was tried, tested, and proudly my own.
Fast forward 5 years later, and I still make this Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna a few times a year. Even though winter in San Francisco sometimes feels like the warmest season of all, spotting butternut squash at the grocery store brings me right into winter cooking mode. Also, this dish is great for potlucks or large dinners. You can even assemble the lasagna the night before, and pop it in the oven about 30 minutes before you want to serve it.
So, I’ve decided to share my original post as it was written back in January 2010. It feels strange to re-write the story behind this lasagna, because it hasn’t really changed. And what about the photos from the blog post? Let’s just say that I absolutely *had* to re-shoot them. My point & shoot camera seemed legit back in 2010, but there’s no way I’d subject you to those photos…
Alright friends, here we go – Cynthia circa 2010!
A few months ago, I found myself at a local grocery store staring at the colorful selection of winter squash. Out of all the different types of squash, butternut squash was by far the most intimidating to me. Up until this winter, I thought it belonged only in the hands of professional chefs, crafting their fancy raviolis and creamy bisques.
Before I knew it, I had a 4-pound squash in my shopping cart, and it was time to find out what to do with it! Knowing that I wanted to use the squash in a pasta dish, I began searching for recipes and found a lasagna dish on Epicurious. While it was a good starting point, I wasn’t completely in love with it. The use of only Parmesan cheese resulted in a lasagna that lacked a creamy texture, and the lasagna topping left the top layer dry and uncooked.
Two months and six pans of lasagna later, I created my perfect recipe. I made some significant changes to the original recipe, such as the addition of Asiago Fresco cheese. A cheese expert at Whole Foods recommended this cheese, suggesting that it would melt better than Parmesan but would not overpower the butternut squash. I also added mild Italian sausage to the filling, although you can skip it for a vegetarian alternative. Altogether, the flavors are simple yet rich: the sweetness from the squash and nuttiness from the cheese are bound together by a creamy Béchamel sauce.
After making this recipe for my family, friends, and even FareStart volunteer buddies, I can proudly post this as my lasagna season finale. I hope you can try it for yourself before we’re forced to say farewell to butternut squash season!
P.S – Here’s a helpful link on how to peel & cut butternut squash like a pro!
- 1 3-4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 5 cups milk
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ stick unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 box dry no-boil pasta
- 1 cup grated Parmigano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup grated Asiago Fresco cheese, or Fontina cheese if not available
- Preheat oven to 450F. Use ½ tablespoon olive oil to grease two baking sheets.
- Add cubed squash to a large bowl and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Toss to evenly coat squash and spread in a single layer on the baking sheets.
- Place baking sheets in oven and roast squash for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and season with salt. Using a large wooden spoon, gently toss the squash. Roast 15 minutes more, or until tender and golden.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring milk and rosemary to a simmer. Stir constantly to avoid the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook the Italian sausage. Break it up into small, bite-size pieces, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and let rest on a plate.
- Using the same pot over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Let cook for 1 minute, careful not to burn garlic. Add flour and mix with butter and garlic. Pour milk and stir until sauce thickens. Reserve 1 cup of sauce to be used during assembly. Add roasted squash and sausage, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Lightly butter a 13"×9"x2" baking dish.
- Using a spatula, evenly spread ¼ cup of filling sauce (no squash or sausage pieces) into the baking dish.
- Add a single layer of dry lasagna noodles. Pour half of the remaining filling over the noodles, and sprinkle with ⅓ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and ⅓ cup Asagio-Fresco. Repeat for 1 more layer, beginning and ending with pasta. For the top layer, add the reserved cup of sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
- Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and broil lasagna for 5 minutes, until top is bubbling and golden. Serve warm.