Butternut Lasagna with Wild Mushrooms and Sage, – a delicious vegetarian or vegan main dish, perfect for your holiday table! This can be made ahead, and baked right before serving! Try using Smoked Mushroms!
Optional Quick Béchamel Sauce:
START THE BUTTERNUT. Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place open side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place sliced onion next to it and drizzle it with a little olive oil. Roast until fork tender, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool. You could do this a day before.
Lower oven to 375F
Make the mushroom filling. In a large skillet, heat the oil or butter. Add mushrooms and shallots and salt, and saute over medium heat, until the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown. Add the garlic, sage and pepper. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 more minutes, turn heat off. You could toss in some spinach at the end and wilt for extra nutrients. Taste and make sure the filling has enough salt and pepper. You could also add a little truffle oil. You could make this 1-3 days ahead and refridgerate.
Using a fork, mix the ricotta cheese with the egg, nutmeg and salt. ( You really don’t have to add the egg, but it adds a nice richness.)
Make the BUTTERNUT SAUCE: When the butternut is cool enough to handle, scoop all the flesh out into a food processor. You should have about 4 cups. Add the roasted onion, olive oil, water, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Puree until smooth. You will need at least 3 1/2 cups pureed and you want it to be almost saucy, like a marinara sauce ( so add water if need be!). This will act as the “sauce”.
Assemble the lasagna. In a greased 9 x13 inch baking dish, add 1 cup of the butternut puree and spread out into a thin layer. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Add ½ of the ricotta mixture and spread out evenly. Top with half of the cook mushrooms. Sprinkle with ½ cup grated mozzarella and a couple tablespoons romano cheese. Add 3 more lasagna noodles. Spread out the rest of the ricotta mixture as evenly as possible. Spoon half of the remaining butternut puree, erring on the side of less than half, so you have enough to cover the top (save at least 1 ¼ cups for the top.) Add the remaining mushrooms and all the good bits ( onions and sage) and sprinkle with another ½ cup shredded mozzarella and couple tablespoons parmesan. Place the final three noodles over the top. Lather with the remaining butternut puree and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese ( or make the creamy béchamel sauce.- See notes. ) You could assmeble this 1-2 days before baking.
Cover tightly with foil and bake in 375 F oven for 40 minutes. (If the foil touches the lasagana, place a layer of parchment beween the foil and lasagna). Uncover and continue baking 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Cut into 9 servings. Garnish with optional crispy sage leaves.
Optional Béchamel: So instead of sprinkling the remaining cheese on top (which is totally fine, especially if pressed for time) I’ll make a quick light béchamel sauce to pour over the final layer of butternut puree using the remaining cheese. This just gives it a creamier look and feel (compared to the look of melted, grated cheese). This is just a personal preference, that makes it look more appealing (from my catering days). Totally up to you. 😉
To make the bechemel: heat the oil or butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the flour, and toast it for 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, whisking out any clumps and browned bits. Stir in salt, pepper and cheese, stirring until melted and incoporated.
A great way to conquer this is to make the compenents in stages. Make the butternut puree one day, the filling the next (storing in the fridge) assembling the next day, baking the next etc. OR Feel free to make this all ahead (refrigerate) and bake before serving, remembering to pull it out of the fridge for at least one hour before baking to let it come to room temp, for even baking.
This can also be baked and frozen.
To make the crispy sage leaves, generously coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Place each leave ( leaving a little stem is cute) into the hot oil and fry each side, around 30 seconds, or until crisp. Place on a paper towel to blot. Do one tester first, to get the timing right. You want them crisp, but still green, not too brown.)
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