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Butternut Squash Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

A slice of butternut squash lasagna being lifted out of a casserole dish

This cheesy lasagna recipe is made with fresh butternut squash puree, béchamel sauce, ricotta, and lots of melty mozzarella cheese. 

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided use
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided use
  • 2 15oz containers of ricotta
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided use
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided use
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 biscotti cookies (not sweet ones, we used almond & walnut biscotti)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 10oz package no-boil lasagna noodles

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Prep your tools. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and get a 9×13 baking dish out.

Cook the onions in butter. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Raise heat to high and continue to cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Cook the squash. In the same pot, add the sliced squash, vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons of thyme and 3 tablespoons sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Make the ricotta filling. While squash is cooking, in a medium bowl combine ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the eggs and mix well. Set aside.

Drain the squash. When squash is done, cool slightly and remove 3/4 cup of the excess liquid (1 cup if there is an excessive amount of liquid). Transfer to a food processor. Break the biscotti in half and add to the processor. Blend until smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Make the béchamel. In a medium saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking frequently. Whisk in the nutmeg. This sauce is called “béchamel” and it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon. (Make the bechamel just before assembling the lasagna, if it sits too long it will develop a skin).

Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. Add the layers in this order:

  • Coat the bottom of your baking dish with 1/2 of the béchamel.
  • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
  • Noodles (make sure they are not overlapping)
  • 1/3 of the squash mixture
  • 1/2 of the onions
  • 1/3 of the mozzarella
  • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
  • Noodles
  • 1/3 of the squash mixture
  • 1/2 of the onions
  • 1/3 of the ricotta mixture
  • 1/3 of the mozzarella
  • Rest of the béchamel
  • Noodles
  • Remaining squash mixture
  • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella
  • Add Parmesan over the top

Bake. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and starting to color a bit.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10-15 minutes. This is important so that the noodles have a chance to absorb more liquid.

Keywords: vegetarian lasagna, homemade lasagna, bechamel sauce for lasagna, white sauce lasagna