My husband is Garfield. Now, I don’t mean to imply he really is a large orange cat famous for his affection for lasagne, but my husband does love lasagne. And he had a large orange cat when we met, so perhaps there may be something to that.
We had a very busy day of cooking over W’s birthday this weekend. One of our friends who was coming over to help celebrate is a vegetarian, so along with the homemade pizzas we were planning on baking, I wanted to try something a bit different. Something that was a departure from the bechamel, bolognese, and pasta that I’m used to. Something without any meat. The answer was found in a lovely roasted butternut squash filling that had an assortment of vegetables and cannelini beans.
Fresh pasta is the key to this dish, so I highly recommend rolling out your own. It’s well worth it, and so incredibly easy to do, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along!
For the filling:
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, diced, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted until fork tender
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
- small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 can cannelini beans
- 1/2 cup white wine
- vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz. of mozzarella cheese
- 3 oz. of ricotta cheese
For the béchamel:
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the lasagne sheets:
- 1 egg
- 3/4 – 1 cup flour
Over medium heat in a large dutch oven or heavy pan, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, carrots and sweat for a few minutes. Add the thyme and oregano and stir a bit.
Add the garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes until things start to smell fragrant.
Clear a spot in the bottom of the pan and add the chopped roasted butternut squash and about 1/4 of the beans with their liquid. Mash the two together with a potato masher or the back of a spoon, and then add the rest of the beans to the pot.
Deglaze with the white wine, and add just enough of the vegetable stock to thin the mixture out a bit. Reduce heat to low, and simmer while you roll out the pasta and make the béchamel.
In a food processor, add the egg and 3/4 of a cup of flour.
Pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.
Knead the dough together and roll out enough to fit through a pasta roller.
Roll through, folding the sheets through each pass, until you reach the thinnest setting.
Cut the sheets to fit in the bottom of a 9×13 buttered pan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until it is just about to boil. Add the milk to the butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until the sauce is very smooth.
Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and season with salt and nutmeg.
Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with melted butter or oil.
Layer in the following order from the bottom: béchamel, pasta, butternut squash filling and cheese (saving about 1 cup béchamel for last topping), making 3 to 4 layers of pasta, finishing with béchamel, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella and ricotta sprinkled over the top.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve.
Serve with a salad and wine.