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Butternut Squash Lasagna

23-Jan-2007
It’s traditional in my family to have lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner.  We’ve done it for a million years and will continue to make it as long as the family is getting together.  And even if that ends I would bet that my siblings will continue in their individual families just as I would if I were having a Christmas Eve dinner.  It’s just part of the fabric of our lives. 
 
There is only one small problem with this tradition.  We generally make a traditional beef-based lasagna but my brother doesn’t eat beef.  Or pork.  We’ve done various things to get around this over the years but this year I hit on a wonderful solution! 
 
I was watching Everyday Italian one afternoon and Giada was making a Butternut Squash Lasagna.  It looked sooooo good.  Although I have to admit it’s a bit hard to tell since Giada does such a great job of looking like she absolutely loves everything that passes her lips!  And maybe she does! 
 
Anyway, I made the recipe for Christmas with just a few small changes including using pumpkin that I had recently roasted instead of butternut squash.  It was really good!  So for my Northwest Harvest thank-you dinner last weekend I made one pan of this lasagna, this time with butternut, (and three pans of meat lasagna) for any vegetarians in the group.  Butternut is generally a bit sweeter and more refined than pumpkin. 
 
Well it was a huge hit and it went so fast when I offered seconds to the group that I didn’t even get to sneak a taste.  Or a photo.  I took one but I think it was the last piece and it was being whisked away at the time.  I’m going to make it again soon but since butternut is pretty readily available in the markets at the moment, I thought I’d recommend it to you now. 
 
Instead of copying Giada’s recipe I’m just going to link to it and then tell you what I did differently. 
 
 
And here’s a list of the things I did differently:
  • Substituted pumpkin for squash and it was great – I think any winter squash would work
  • Peeled, cubed and oven-roasted the squash until tender instead of sautéing it
  • I have not added the cookies (read the recipe…) but I think it seems as if they would add a little something extra and will try that at some point
  • I’ve used "regular" lasagna both times.  I just don’t think it’s that hard to boil it and I find it easier to control the amount of sauce that’s needed
  • I added some Parmesan cheese to every layer
  • I did not add the final layer of cheese at the end – both times I made it I was busy socializing while it cooked and didn’t want to be bothered so I just used all of the cheese in the layers
  • The first time I baked it covered as the recipe specifies, the second I cooked it uncovered the entire time and it seemed pretty much the same both times. 
  • My version actually looked better than the picture on her site, I think.  The basil really adds a green tint to the Bechamel sauce and in mine you could see definite stripes of green from the sauce, orange from the squash and white from the noodles and cheese – it’s a really pretty dish. 

Now go try it – you’ll be happy!

 
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