Labor Day is such an interesting holiday, having a foot in two seasons. On Saturday we grilled out, enjoying freshly harvested local sweet corn, watermelon, lemonade, and bbq. And then on Sunday, the wind had that specific scent and voracity and bite, the trees had that sound of rustling, and we started deep cleaning everything in sight, getting ready for the end-of-season harvesting that would need organization and attention. Hello, Autumn!
I’ve been using my dutch oven again for about a week (and have those recipes to share soon), but I wanted to make something uniquely autumnal to welcome the season–my favorite season, as it happens. For years I have made a variation of this pasta; sometimes it’s stuffed shells, others ravioli, sometimes it’s pumpkin instead of squash, and even sometimes it has Italian sausage mixed into it. Some of the sauces change, depending on my mood and the weather–a heavier bechamel if it’s chilly and I want something hearty, a light cream sauce on other occasions, or, as is the case last night, a barely-there browned-butter sauce. No matter how I dress it up or down or package it, it’s always a dish that centers me into the season and makes me excited for apple cider and pies. 🙂
Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sage and Honey Brown Butter Sauce
Yield: 6 servings
For the filling:
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 medium to large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 C fresh sage, chiffoned
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t ground cinnamon
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper pepper, to taste
3 T coconut oil
For the sauce:
1/2 C salted butter
3 T red onion, finely diced
3 T fresh safe, chopped
1 1/2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 T raw honey
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
For the lasagna:
15 ounce ricotta cheese
1/2 C parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
dry lasagna noodles of choice
3/4 C water
For the filling– Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the vegetables and toss with the coconut oil and all the seasonings well. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly (recommend preparing the browned butter sauce during this time). Then, mash the roasted vegetables together as you would make a mashed potato.
For the sauce–In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. When it has fully melted and beginning to foam slightly, add the onion, the herbs, and the black pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes then add the honey, stir for 30 seconds, and add the lemon juice. Remove from the heat.
For other ingredients–combine the egg with the ricotta cheese and whip thoroughly to combine.
Set oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an 8×10 baking dish, spread half the butter sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place dry lasagna noodles in a single layer. Gently spread half the mashed squash and sweet potato mixture to make an even layer, top with a little parmigiano reggiano cheese, then add another layer of noodles. Spread the whipped ricotta onto the new layer, then add another layer of noodles. Repeat twice more–mash and then ricotta–until you add the last layer of noodles. Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano reggiano cheese onto the top layer then drizzle the other half of the butter sauce over the top. Carefully, from a measuring cup with a spout, pour the 1/2 C water into all four sides of the lasagna pan. Then gently pour the other 1/4 cup onto the very top layer. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes covered, and then remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until the cheese browns on the top.