Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagne
This is one of those meals that’s savory and satisfying the first time around, even better as leftovers, and just as phenomenal baked after a long hibernation in the freezer. It’s an ideal weekend project: double (or triple) the recipe and stash a few pans away for a busy weeknight. My squash of choice here is butternut, but really any winter variety could be subbed in. The grey-skinned Jarrahdale pumpkin would be a particularly nice option.
- 2 large butternut squashes, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (~1/4 inch)
- 1 box of lasagne, cooked al dente
- 1 large handful swiss chard (or kale, beet tops, spinach), washed with stems removed
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Nutmeg, freshly grated to taste
- Black pepper
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan or grana padano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub a 13×9-inch baking dish with a bit of butter and set aside.
Layer the butternut squash slices on a large cookie sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast in the oven just until tender but still holding their shape, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, start the bechamel. First, you’ll make a roux. Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until absolutely smooth, with no clumping. Now, you’ll start adding in the milk very gradually, whisking continually. Ladle in about a half cup at a time and whisk to incorporate. The first addition will result in a very thick paste—but don’t worry, just continue whisking and adding a bit more at a time. The proper way to do this is to have the milk warming in a second sauce pan, but I usually cheat and add it cold, allowing a bit more time between additions for the sauce to get steamy again.
Once you’ve added all the milk, whisk in the salt, garlic, nutmeg, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it has thickened, stirring frequently. (When it’s thick enough, the sauce will thickly coat the back of a spoon instead of running off.)
Add the swiss chard to the pot and puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to a proper blender). Now, you have your green-specked cream sauce and you’re ready to assemble the lasagne!
Ladle a bit of cream sauce into the prepared baking dish, just enough to coat the bottom. Line the pan with lasagne noodles, spread about a half-cup of sauce over them, puzzle in a layer of roasted squash, and sprinkle with parmesan. Repeat: noodles, sauce, squash, parmesan. I packed five layers of noodles in the pan, with the final layer topped with the remaining cream sauce and parmesan. (This makes for a top crust that’s crispy and perfectly browned without being too brittle.)
Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, taking the foil off for the last 15 or 20 minutes to let the top brown.
Let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before digging in. Enjoy with friends, like we did!