I hate when I read other people’s reviews of recipes and they have decided to “tweak” the recipe and then they slam it. If you have swapped out the butter for prune juice, it’s not going to be the same! So, I usually try to follow recipes to a T the first time around. Changes can come later, after I know what I’m working with.
That said, I was feeling crappy and I was not interested in running to the store (nor was R around to send, plus I couldn’t deal with the gazillion phone calls that would have followed). I used canned squash instead of roasting a butternut squash, and I swapped a pound of frozen spinach instead of fresh basil. I also skipped the amaretti cookies, but tossed the equivalent spices in. It turned out surprisingly well. It’s fun to have a different take on lasagna. It is lighter than traditional lasagna. The squash was mild and sweet and the spinach added heft. I think it would be even better with sausage, but that would defeat the vegetarian part of it.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving..