Following up on my lasagna love from last week is another delicious lasagna I made recently. This one is definitely quite a bit more involved - a weekend project for sure. But, all the work was totally worth it - this is one tasty lasagna! Thin homemade egg noodles are layered with a creamy goat cheese-squash-spinach layer, and then the whole thing is topped off with cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs. The only thing I'd change would be to add more goat cheese - perhaps crumbled in between some of the layers. While the filling was really delicious, the squash flavor definitely dominated and I didn't get quite the goat cheese-y 'tang' I was looking for. That's a small complaint, though, because overall Tim and I loved this dish! It's pretty rich, so it will serve a crowd.
Butternut Squash-Goat Cheese Lasagna (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Makes one pan, serving 6-8
1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
5 T butter, divided
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped
1 small bunch fresh spinach (about two handfuls), large stems removed, chopped
1 large sprig fresh sage
1/4 cup flour
3 cups skim milk
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup panko
1 recipe Fresh Pasta, rolled into lasagna sheets (no need to boil)
1. Prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash halves cut-side-up on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and rub onto all the cut surfaces. Place 2 garlic cloves and 1 sprig of thyme in the cavity of each squash. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 40-50 minutes, until the squash is tender.
2. Let cool until easy to handle. Discard the thyme leaves. Peel the garlic and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. Peel the skin off the squash (it should come off easily), and mash into the garlic.
3. In a large non-stick skillet, melt 1 T of the butter. Add the leeks and cook over medium-low heat until softened and just starting to brown. Rinse the chopped spinach and transfer to the skillet with a little water still clinging to the leaves. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined colander and press out any excess moisture. Add to the bowl with the squash and stir to combine.
4. Prepare the sauce. In a large non-stick skillet, melt the remaining 4 T butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage and stir until fragrant, a few minutes. Remove the sage.
5. Whisk in the flour and cook until nicely browned. Whisk in the milk, pouring it in slowly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and stir over the heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper, and then taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Finish the filling. Pour 1-1/2 cups of the sauce into a liquid measuring cup. Pour the rest of the cheese sauce into the squash filling, and stir to combine well. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
7. Assemble the lasagna. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce into a 9x13 baking pan. Add a layer of noodles, cutting them to fit into the pan. Add 1 cup of the squash mixture and spread in an even layer. Continue layering noodles and squash until you run out - it's ok if you end up with an extra-thick layer of squash or a double layer of noodles at the end! Just make sure to end with a noodle layer.
8. Pour the remaining 1 cup of sauce over the final layer of noodles and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle over the panko, followed by the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
9. Bake the lasagna. Spray a large piece of tin foil with oil and place it foil-side-down over the lasagna. Fold over the edges. Place the lasagna pan on a large rimmed baking sheet and then transfer to the oven. Bake 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before serving.