Lasagna is irresistible, there’s no way around that. But if you’re watching your weight, all that meat can be a bit heavy. Try this vegetarian-friendly version, which makes the most of the perfectly-in-season butternut squash, for a slightly less-guilty dinner
Butternut Squash Lasagna
2 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled,
seeded and sliced into ½-inch slabs
Salt and pepper to taste
4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup butter, divided
¼ cup flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 cups milk
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1-2 boxes dry lasagna noodles
Fresh sage, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped
3 cups grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Lay the squash one layer deep on an oiled baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and roast in batches until golden brown and fork-tender. Set aside to cool and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- While the squash is roasting, place the onions in a high-sided frying pan or shallow pot with a splash of olive oil, garlic and the sprigs of thyme. Place the pan over medium heat, cover and cook until the onions are translucent and collapsing. Remove the lid and continue cooking, stirring often, until they begin to caramelize. This can take up to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To make a béchamel, melt ¼ cup of the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, watching closely to make sure it doesn’t brown. Make a roux by adding the flour and whisking to combine until smooth and uniform.
- Continue cooking, whisking continuously, until golden in color. Add the nutmeg. Slowly pour in the milk and then 1 cup of the broth while whisking continuously over medium-low heat, until bubbling and thickened. Taste to ensure the raw flour taste has been cooked out. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
- To assemble the lasagna, use the remaining ¼ cup of the butter to heavily grease a 9×13-inch pan. Arrange a layer of the dry noodles in the pan and cover generously with some of the béchamel sauce, a layer of the squash, a bit of the caramelized onions, a sprinkle of the fresh sage and basil and a handful of the Parmesan.
- Pour the remaining cup of broth carefully around the edges, which will add some moisture to help cook the noodles, but avoid disturbing the béchamel on top.
- Place the lasagna on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the whole lasagna is bubbling, even in the center, about 45-60 minutes. Check for doneness by sticking a paring knife into the noodles, which should be tender.