Although I enjoy all four seasons, autumn captures my heart each year, and I never want the leaves to fall and the winds to shift to winter. Maybe it’s the leaves changing from bright green to a kaleidoscope of brilliant crimson hues that dazzle even the most jaded eye. Or when the cool need a blanket morning, shift to warm light jacket afternoons. I could linger forever at this time of year.
And after a relaxing summer of light, easy meals, I am ready to bake and cook for days on end. Certain flavors call out autumn to me. One of my favorites is butternut squash and sage. I purchase my squash, all peeled, and cup up for easy. If you choose, you can use a whole squash and ready it yourself. I grow sage every summer, so I have an abundance for my cooking. I love the smell of fresh sage!
This lasagna is a hearty meal that my family loves. I serve it with a delicious salad and crusty bread. And I freeze leftovers for quick meals when I don’t have time to cook!
For the vegetables:
1 20 ounces package of peeled and cut butternut squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
For the béchamel:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
For the lasagna:
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
1 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
Make the vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and place on half of a large baking sheet; season with salt. Toss the onion with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on the other half of the baking sheet; season with salt. Roast, rotating the baking sheet once, until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg.
Assemble the lasagna: Butter a 9-by13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses, egg, and flour in a bowl. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of béchamel. Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining béchamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, then top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (béchamel, cheese, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining béchamel. Slice fresh mozzarella into six pieces and place on top. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Uncover the lasagna and broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.