Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Spinach Lasagna

Serves 8 to 10

This rich, hearty vegetarian lasagna would be good at Thanksgiving or Christmas for vegetarians. It’s very good, although the prep is time consuming.

1 large butternut squash
6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 medium red onions, julienned
1 pound ricotta cheese

2 tbsp, fresh (2 tsp. dry) rosemary, chopped
2 eggs
1 ½ cups grated Parmesano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Scant ½ cup all-purpose flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
8 strips lasagna noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

  1. Roast the squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place in roasting pan and drizzle with 3 tbsp. olive oil. Place in oven and cook until soft all the way through, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool and then remove skin.
  2. Place in food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. In a sauté pan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil until hot, but not smoking and add onions. Toss to coat with oil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and browned, about 25 minutes, more as needed. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  4. Prepare the ricotta mixture. Mix ricotta cheese, rosemary, eggs, half the grated cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Make a spinach mornay sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Stirring constantly, cook about 2 minutes. Add the milk and heat until sauce comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Add the rest of the grated cheese, the nutmeg and the defrosted spinach. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Assemble the dish. Spray a 9” x 13” pan with oil. Spread 1 cup of the spinach sauce on the bottom of the pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spread half the roasted butternut squash puree on the noodles. Add another layer of noodles. Spread the ricotta mixture on the noodles and then spread the caramelized onions on the cheese mixture. Cover with another layer of noodles. Add the remainder of the squash puree on top of the noodles and add another layer of noodles. Finally, use the rest of the spinach mornay sauce for the top layer. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Remove foil and cook another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

b: New York Times: Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2012

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